Under 20 Premiership 1 Qualifier – Old Wesley 27 St. Mary’s 5
Old Wesley’s second qualifying match took place in ideal conditions on a sunny day in Templeville Road in a winner takes all shootout for the final Qualifying space in Prem 1. The game itself was not as one sided as the score line would appear with St Marys putting the visitors under quite a bit of pressure for long periods during the game. The score line finished 27-5 to Old Wesley meaning that the Donnybrook team now qualify for Prem 1 as the highest qualifier with Old Belvedere taking the other spot. The result is probably a fair reflection on the standard of this Old Wesley team but there is no doubt that the journey ahead will be tough and a big step up from Prem 2.
Old Wesley were playing from left to right into the light breeze during the 1st half and within 3 minutes of kick off won a penalty outside the home team 22 and were 0-3 up with the accuracy of Paddy McKenzie who had a fine afternoon with his boot and also his play in general. Another penalty from McKenzie saw the lead double on 18 minutes and despite a lot of Marys territory the home team had nothing to show for their endeavours.
An intercept on half way and kick ahead by Andrew Ross on 22 minutes lead to the 1st of 3 tries for the visitors and Jack Kennedy finished off a great move in the left hand corner. Again McKenzie slotted the kick from a very difficult angle. 0-13 the visitors led and with another try by Kennedy 5 minutes later on the other side of the pitch, the visitors were in command at half time 20 points to the good.
5 minutes into the 2nd half the home team got a well worked try following some powerful play in the Wesley 22, moving the score to 5-22 with the conversion narrowly going wide. St Marys had the advantage in the scrum during the 1st half but following a couple of tactical substitutions at half time and shortly into the second half parity was restored in the set piece. The next 20 minutes saw the game being played within both teams 22 and while Marys did come close on a couple of occasions, Wesley remained solid in defence with all of the team putting a lot of effort into their defensive lines. The visitors were penalised a number of occasions during this period for offside and interfering in the breakdown and were probably fortunate not to have received a yellow card. For the home team they were not able to capitalise on this pressure and came away without any score during this phase. 30 minutes into the half, following a penalty miss by McKenzie and a bout of pressure on the Marys 22 a well-executed backline move saw Cameron Watson ghost over the try line to finish off the best move of the game. Again the accuracy of McKenzie’s boot saw the visitors extend the lead to 5-27 and the remaining players on the bench all come on to do their part in closing out the victory.
The final whistle sounded and Old Wesley advance as the best qualifier (on points difference) to Old Belvedere and a return to Prem 1 after several years. We wish this young team all the very best for the season ahead and would like to thank all of the members and family for turning out at the game and for their support and good wishes.