Under 20s Premiership Division 2 – Old Wesley 18 Galwegians 15
Playing with the wind on a cold wet squaly Galway winter afternoon, the Old Wesley u20 team had to endure long periods of sustained pressure from a very strong Galwegian outfit.
After the initial salvos Old Wesley came under pressure at the first scrum, and a very strong scrum meant that Galwegians were more than happy to engage in the frequent set pieces given the heavy and difficult ball handling conditions. Galwegians put the visitors under pressure in the opening quarter and were rewarded for this with a try from a clever cross field kick by the out half to put in their strong number 11. With the conversion from the corner the home team took the lead 7-0 after 20 minutes. From the restart Old Wesley began a period of pressure with good kick chases and ball recycling however at crucial times some ball handling errors meant that the home team were able to repel the visitors advances. Then Galwegians turned the screw on Old Wesley with a 10 minute period of pressure close to the line resulting in a second try following two 5 metre scrums. With the conversion missed after 30 minutes it was 12-0 and looking tough for the away team.
5 minutes before half time the tables turned as more and more Old Wesley were able to win the 50:50 break downs with fine work on the floor and loose by the back row as a unit and Cameron Madden, returning following a long lay-off. A break by the wrecking ball David Motyer saw Old Wesley score a fine individual try as the second row romped home after a break from the half way line; a try that has to be considered for try of the season; see video below. Unfortunately the conversion by Watson was just missed into the breeze and the score at half time was Galwegians 12 Old Wesley 5.
The 2nd half saw the introduction of Callum Kavanagh for Andrew Irwin at loose head prop and with a period of both sides battling for territory Galwegians got a break through after 10 minutes with a penalty for offside at the breakdown, extending their lead to 15-5. With Galwegians being caught offside at the restart and the resulting penalty, a fine driving maul deep into the home team 22, Old Wesley suddenly found their next gear. Some further substitutions with the introduction of Gary Hawe and John Ridgeway, Old Wesley were able to change to dynamics of the game. With a deft kick behind the home team in their 22 by Hawe, Old Wesley were rewarded for this pressure with a well converted penalty by Cameron Watson to reduce the deficit to 15-8. A second penalty 5 minutes later saw the visitors further close the gap to 4 points with a simple kick in front of the posts and the score advance to 15-11, with 15 minutes to go.
The game pivoted following some more sustained pressure by Old Wesley and a great break by the mobile Zak Bursey, which then saw Captain O’Hanrahan put a lovely pop pass into space, and Gary Hawe seize the opportunity to glide over for a fantastic try. Old Wesley took the lead for the 1st time 15-16. A superb conversion from Cameron Watson saw the lead extend to 15-18 for Wesley. With 5 minutes left to play, and the final changes taking place most notably for the injured Fergus Noonan who had a fine afternoon, Old Wesley were able to withstand the last attacks by Galwegians and close out a memorable victory for a 3rd win away from home.
We are now 4 points clear at the top of Premiership 2 and looking forward to a local clash with Trinity next Sunday, 9th December in Donnybrook.