Under 20s Premiership 2 – Old Wesley 37 Dublin Univ. 24
This 9 try thriller was more a showcase of attacking play rather than defence for both teams with each side obtaining a try bonus point and the home team scoring 5 tries to Trinity’s 4 tries. Old Wesley got the better of the first half and with 3 minutes on the clock had 3 points on the board through an early penalty through the boot of Cameron Watson following skilful play by Capt Shane O’Hanrahan, David Motyer and Dave Young.
With 20 minutes gone some fine individual plays with strong defence and solid counter attacking Old Wesley had their first try with outhalf Gary Hawe touching down to the left of the posts. Watson again added the points and the home side looked comfortable 10-0 up.
In the following 10 minutes the home team were able to continue with their overall dominance through fine loose forward play from the back row and in particular Cameron Madden, winning 2 penalties on the floor, and strong back line running with John Ridgeway making a number of line breaks. The next score for the home team came following some powerful runs from Sam Kenny into the Trinity 22, and repeated defensive infringements allowed Watson to again kick 3 points from in front of the posts. The score moved out to 13-0.
Trinity to their credit struck back nearly immediately after the restart and some sloppy defence from the home side allowed the visitors to register their first try of the game, but failing to get the conversion. With 5 minutes to half time the score was 13-5.
Old Wesley won the following restart and subsequent penalty to put pressure on the Trinity 22 with a kick to the corner. Unlike the scrum which remained rock solid all day the Wesley line out came under pressure at times and in this case Trinity were able to relieve the pressure. However, shortly afterwards a Trinity lineout outside their own 22 saw a magnificent steal and Dave Young rumble toward the try line. Shane O’Hanrahan made a telling break and Old Wesley scored their 3rd try. With the conversion on the stroke of half time the home team lead 20-5.
The 2nd half got off to a flying start with Old Wesley producing a fine score by hooker Dave Young who again made serious yards with ball in hand. Once again Cameron Watson was accurate with the kick and Old Wesley lead 27-5. The other Cameron, Cameron Madden, this time broke through the Trinity line and was unlucky that his infield kick to keep the ball in play was touched down for a 22 drop out. From this drop out Trinity won 2 penalties in succession and they scored their second try for the score to move to 27-10.
Shortly afterwards and 10 minutes into the 2nd half, breaks from Eoin Deegan and Cameron Madden saw the openside flanker making the bonus point secure with an individual break to dot down, unfortunately this time Watson was wide with the conversion and the score moved to 32-10. The bench started to come on with Luke Sweeney, Andrew Vincent, Callum Kavanagh and Andrew Egan all being introduced at this point.
For the following 20 minutes the visitors made the better of the exchanges between both teams and were able to notch up 2 further scores. Firstly to 32-17, and then just after a yellow card for a series of penalties, the home team were down to 14 men and conceded a 4th try, and the score narrowed to 32-24 and 5 minutes left to play. There were a lot of personnel changes by both teams and the rest of Old Wesley’s bench of Harry Shaw, Ben O’Sullivan and Killian O’Doherty were introduced over the quarter. The victory was assured when Capt O’Hanrahan went over for his second try bringing the score to 37-24, after another fine individual performance from the team captain.
When the final whistle sounded shortly afterwards it was relief for the home side for getting the job done, and satisfaction in knowing that we can now take a well-earned break over Christmas with 6 wins from 6, top of Premiership 2 on 26 points, and 6 points clear from 2nd place St Marys.
The entire squad needs to take credit for all of their hard work on the training ground and on match days. Thanks also to the growing number of supporters who attend each week to watch the team play.