3rds reach O’Connell Cup Final

O’Connell Cup Semi-Final   –   Lansdowne 6 Old Wesley 12

The 3rds reached the final of the O’Connell cup last weekend after a semi-final victory over Lansdowne.  The 3rds have played in the cup final of this competition in the last four years.

After only playing the quarter final the previous Tuesday when the squad picked up a number of injuries and with other guys unavailable, the squad depth would be really put to the test.  The 3rds have had some great battles with Lansdowne over the last number of years and this was to be no different; both teams know each other so well.

Lansdowne played with a stiff breeze behind them and took an early lead kicking a penalty. Wesley were missing their usual kicker, Tim Hawe, but David Braithwaite filled his shoes and levelled the match with 10 minutes left in the first half. Wesley were playing most of the rugby and were unlucky not to score tries on a number of occasions but Lansdowne had the final score of the half when they kicked a penalty in the closing minutes of the half

Wesley started the 2nd half strongly.  Bodies were battered and bruised and soon after they drew the match level with another penalty. Both teams had try scoring opportunities but defences held strong.  Braithwaite kicked a penalty with 20 minutes gone and Wesley took the lead for the first time 9-6. Five minutes later he was to make it 12 6.  Wesley were in control and should have probably closed the game out again coming close to a try, which would have put daylight between the teams, but were just held up.

With the match entering the final few minutes Lansdowne were awarded a number of penalties and were very close on a number of occasions to scoring but Wesley’s defence was equal to the task.  In the final play we were awarded with a penalty when veteran player coach Andrew McCrann forced a penalty.  The ball was kicked dead for a well deserved victory.

The whole squad and management deserve great credit as they put the disappointment of the league final defeat behind them.  This was our 6th match in as many weeks and the last two were only four days apart.

The team have a well earned week off and look forward to the final, were they will play DLSP 1sts or Malahide 2nds.  Details to follow


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