Metro Div 1 final – Old Wesley 14 Lansdowne 20
Despite a huge performance and down to 13 players for the last 10 minutes the 2nds were unable to overcome Lansdowne in the Metro Division 1 Final.
This was a magnificent performance by Old Wesley against a side that included a number of AIL Division 1A players. To a man the Wesley players punched above their weight and the side will feel that they should probably have won. Wesley had the territorial advantage for much of the first half, their line out was at full throttle, and occasionally stole opposition possession, and there were big carries from many players. However they struggled to convert this advantage into points.
Adam Kennedy opened the scoring with a penalty goal after less than two minutes. Lansdowne then got on the scoreboard with a converted try, however Wesley responded immediately with Ben Burns crossing for a try. Lansdowne regained the lead after 35 minutes leaving the score at 8-10 going into the half time break.
Lansdowne looked the stronger side for the early part of the second half before Mark Robinson blocked down a kick. Then a perfectly timed tackle by Matthew Bursey forced a penalty, however Tim Clifford was just wide of the posts with the kick. Bursey was on hand again with a great break down the wing, again leading to a penalty. But again it could not be converted. The sides then exchanged penalty goals to retain the 2 point difference. But with 10 minutes to go Wesley were dealt an enormous blow; a double red card for Richie Jermyn and Josh Pim for a dangerous tackle. Lansdowne responded immediately scoring a try, converted to make it 11-20. Down to 13 men it looked like game over, however the situation spurred on the Wesley side as they threw everything at the opposition for the remainder of the match.
Lansdowne were forced to concede a number of penalties. The Wesley supporters were baying for at least a yellow card, however the referee did not agree. With 2 minutes remaining Kennedy converted a penalty to make it a 6 point game. A penalty from the restart and they again brought play deep into the opposition 22. However with the clock in the red Lansdowne eventually gained possession and cleared their lines for full time.
This was an anticlimax to a brilliant year for Old Wesley 2nds. Playing in the top junior league they beat every other side in the league, including all six AIL Division 1A clubs, at least once. Congratulations to all players, coaches and management involved.
Team: Tommy O’Callaghen, Tom Moorehead, Alan Jeffares, Cilliam Monahan, Richie Jermyn, Adam Kennedy, Craig Miller, David Henshaw (capt), Ben Burns, Padraig Cullen, Aaron Browne, Mark Robinson, Johnathon O’Sullivan, Stephen Boyle, Matthew Bursey. Substitutes: Gavin Telford, Martin Gately. Josh Pim, Michael Hastings, Tim Clifford.