20s storm Galway Students with 6 try blitz
Under 20 Premiership 2 – Old Wesley 40 NUIG 10
The Old Wesley U20s continued their unbeaten run with a 6 try haul played in difficult conditions on the back pitch in Donnybrook. The game got off to a frenetic start with no more than 90 seconds on the clock, and one of the tries of the season by the accomplished Wesley outfit. The score saw wing Luke Sweeney speed into the far-left hand corner following fine play by the back line, with Shane O’Hanrahan and Cameron Watson both featuring before Sweeney touched down. With Watson converting magnificently with the swirling wind from the corner the score was 7-0 in the opening 2 minutes.
After a serious looking injury to Zak Bursey on 5 minutes, forcing the talented no8 to retire with a concussion, prop Calum Kavanagh came on to replace Bursey and Loose Head prop Andrew Irwin moved to No 6. Old Wesley then had an attacking scrum 15 metres from the visitors line. Captain O’Hanrahan, who is enjoying some fine rugby this season especially at scrum half, picked from the base of the scrum and evaded 2 tackles to sneak home unopposed close to the posts. And with Watson on target again it was 14-0 after 11 minutes.
NUIG got to grips with the speed of the pitch and the wind shortly afterwards and made a number of breaks toward the Wesley line. But with solid defence Wesley withheld the visitors’ pressure until 2 penalties were conceded for not releasing. The second penalty was in front of the posts and with 15 minutes on the clock the Students opened their account to make it 14-3.
20 minutes in Old Wesley’s third try was scored with another fine series of breaks by the pack, who to a man all made serious ground with ball in hand, with David Motyer, Sam Kenny and Stephen Keane all moving the opposition pack around the park with strong direct running. Old Wesley had clear dominance in the scrum and line out, and credit to all of the forwards for giving the platform to the backline with great go forward ball, especially in the 1st half. The 3rd try was a result of great link play, and following a big Wez scrum, it was the turn of the other winger John Ridgeway, who crossed over following quick hands across the back line. Again Cameron Watson added the points and the score moved to 21-3.
The bonus point try was secured 10 minutes later with another fine individual score by Capt. O’Hanrahon, following a pick at the base of the scrum by Keane, and smart play by O’Hanrahan to leave an easy conversion for Watson. 5 minutes to half time the score moved to 28-3 to the home team. NUIG did mount a number of breaks and plays toward the Wesley line, but with a very strong defensive line and fine tackling by O’Loughlin, Corrigan, Deegan, Copeland and Irwin halting the visitors, progress. Half time came with the score reading 28-3.
Playing with the wind in the 2nd half gave the visitors more confidence, but a series of line out steals and strong rucking, in particular by Andrew Warner and the very visible David Motyer and Sam Kenny. The lead was extend with John Ridgeway going in for his second try following a tap and go penalty, and while the difficult conversion was missed the score moved to 33-3 for the home team. NUIG reacted to an onslaught on the Wez line for the following 5 minutes but resolute defence held the visitors out, but not without a Yellow Card being issued to fly half O’Loughlin for a series of team offences. Old Wesley, during this period, introduced a number of subs – Andrew Egan, Evan Stephenson and Scott Burleigh, all of whom put in decent shifts. No scores were conceded during this period, and with O’Loughlin back on the pitch the rest of the bench was introduced; with Gary Hawe, Harry Shaw and Paddy O’Boy all coming into the team.
Old Wesley’s final try came after 25 minutes in the half following 2 powerful scrums. Number 8 Stephen Keane drove over the line finishing off a strong break that saw him cross under the posts, and Watson added his 5th conversion to bring the score to 40-3.
To their credit the visitors were relentless in their efforts to cross the white wash and were rewarded 10 minutes before time with a try at the base of the posts, despite the best efforts to keep the defensive line intact. In the final few minutes Old Wesley pressed hard, with Dave Young and co putting in a massive shift making hard yards and helping the home team finish well into the ascendancy.
With 5 games left to play, next it’s home to Greystones and then a big away match to St Mary’s whom are currently in 3rd place. The team are 9 points clear at the top, and have an inform Trinity hot on their heels, so there can be no margin for error to ensure we maintain an unattainable lead at the top of Prem 2.