Premiership 2 – Old Wesley 8 St. Mary’s 7
On a cold, dry day in Donnybrook, Old Wesley Under 20s took on their local rivals St Mary’s in a gripping encounter which saw the home team score a late try and secure a home victory against a very tough and well organised St. Mary’s team. This result sees Old Wesley remain top of Prem 2 and the only team to maintain a 100% record in this Division.
The first 20 minutes saw the home team dominate with Marys not able to exit their own half. Wesley had a number of breaks and visits to the Marys 22 but on each occasion some solid defending by the visitors kept the home team out. Following some clever back play Old Wesley were rewarded with a Penalty close to the touchline which was easily converted by Cameron Watson and 15 minutes into the game it was 3-0 to Old Wesley.
It took nearly 30 minutes for Marys to put any sustained pressure on the Wesley try line and on nearly their 1st visit to the home teams 22 they scored a well taken try in the far left corner. With a good conversion into the wind the visitors made good their lead 3-7 coming close to half time. With 2 further penalties, one of which was a shot from far out at the posts and the other a kick to the corner Marys were unlucky not to go further ahead. To their credit the home team were able to defend well and through some good countering the home team had an opportunity to also score a try 5 metres out but St Marys kept the home team at bay.
The 2nd half saw Marys put immediate pressure on the Old Wesley line but strong home team defence and scrummaging allowed the pressure to be lifted. A break by winger Luke Sweeney saw Old Wesley make a foray into the Marys half after 10 minutes but some strong counter rucking from Marys led to a penalty which they sent to the corner for a lineout. With Marys winning the following lineout and breaking the cover defence Old Wesley got out of jail with the visitors adjudged of crossing in the previous play. With both teams starting to use their benches with 10 minutes gone of the 2nd half Old Wesley had a penalty kick that brought a lineout into the Marys 22 however again strong defence from the visitors saw them coming away from this period of play with the score remaining unchanged.
The visitors tried to extend their lead with 2 penalty chances both of which were wide and 30 minutes into the 2nd half time was running out for the home team to get back on top. Wesley’s persistence is a feature of this season and the never say die attitude meant that the final 10 minutes were going to be a tense affair. Wesley’s dominance in the tight meant that penalties for not rolling away, high tackles and being offside allowed Wesley press deep towards the Marys line. The visitors 1st yellow card came 5 minutes from the end and a 2nd yellow shortly after, finally allowed Wesley recycle the possession cleverly in the pack with phase after phase and then swing the ball out wide. 2 quick passes across the back line and a sweet connecting pass from Patrick O’Boy saw the 20’s top try scorer Andrew Vincent cross over in the corner to take the lead to 8-7. The conversion was narrowly missed and with enough time for the restart Marys to their credit pushed the home side towards their 22 but with the Old Wesley players knowing what needed to be done they closed out the final 2 minutes to record a hard fought and narrow victory.
Next week the team are on the road to Galway again to take on Galwegians and then back home the following week to take on Trinity and the opportunity with both games to consolidate our lead at the top of Prem 2 and enjoy the Christmas break.