Metro 3 League Final – Old Wesley 29 Wanderers 23
In a successful weekend for junior rugby Old Wesley 3rds made it two league wins out of two for the club in a hard fought win over Wanderers 2nds at Donnybrook. In a game that ebbed and flowed Old Wesley’s fitness marginally won out over the opposition’s physicality.
Old Wesley were first on the scoreboard with a penalty goal by Kenny McLaughlin after 3 minutes but 4 minutes later it was Wanderers who crossed for the first try of the match following a powerful drive off a line out. At the end of the first quarter Wesley had not yet got fully into the groove but a powerful run by David Brownlow was stopped just short of the goal line. Wanderers eventually conceded a penalty which McLaughlin converted with ease. He converted another penalty 10 minutes later to take a 9-5 lead. Old Wesley had the breeze advantage and needed a try before half time. Sure enough tall winger Mark Fitzgibbon was on hand to beat a couple of tackles to score a try under the posts after the pack had won a scrum against the head. McLaughlin converted for a much healthier looking 16-5 lead. But the visitors had different ideas and virtually immediately a counter attack from deep in their own half led to their second try. The conversion was missed to leave it 16-10 at half time.
Wesley had the worst possible start to the second half when they leaked a soft converted try allowing the lead to again swing back in the visitors’ favour. They extended their lead further with a well struck long range penalty goal and Wesley trailed 16-20. But Brownlow was on hand again with a great carry before Jamie Boyd crossed for a try restoring the lead for Old Wesley. This was turning into an enthralling game with spectators from both sides certainly getting their value for money.
Wanderers were dealt a blow when their winger was yellow carded for a ruck infringement but it didn’t deter their kicker who regained the lead with another long range effort. Going into the final quarter and it was 23-21 to Wanderers. Wesley then had a penalty advantage deep in the Wanderers 22 and a cross kick by McLaughlin was beautifully fielded by Luke Correll who found the tiniest of gaps to ground for a try. With the opposition now starting to tire Old Wesley turned the screw and succeeded in pinning Wanderers in their own half for much of the remaining time. With the clock now in injury time a late penalty kick by McLaughlin sealed victory for the hosts.
This was a fitting finale for a side that went unbeaten throughout their league campaign winning promotion for the second year in a row.
Old Wesley team: Mulcaire O’Mara, Mark Fitzgibbon, Michael Hastings (capt), Luke Correll, Tim Hawe, Kenny McLaughlin, Jamie Boyd, Mark McDonald, Colin McDonald, Simon Goldsmith, John Carroll, Daniel Hall, Jack Byrne, Jonny Willis, David Brownlow
Subs: Ian Logan, Sam Moore, Scott McDonnell, Tommy Emo, Paddy Davis
Old Wesley scorers: Mark Fitzgibbon, try; Jamie Boyd, try; Luke Correll, try, Kenny McLaughlin, con, 4 pens.