4ths Beat Clontarf in Metro League Final
(31st March) In their third league final in as many years Old Wesley 4ths took a while to get going but eventually came away worthy winners with a decisive 2nd half performance against Clontarf at Donnybrook, to make it 3 league titles in a row.
Clontarf came out of the blocks early and for the first 14 minutes put Old Wesley under constant pressure but failed to register on the score board. Eventually a terrier like break by Guy Creswell got Wesley into the opposition half which nearly resulted in a try only to be held up over the line. Graham Claxton opened the scoring with a penalty kick after 22 minutes. A yellow card for influential Wesley Captain David Taylor just before half time was capitalised on by Clontarf with the first try of the match which was converted leaving the half time score at 7-3 to the Dublin Northsiders.
In second half Old Wesley Arron McDonnell came on to replace Chris Coghlan, who suffered a damaged AC joint. He was only on the pitch a few minutes when he took a pass at pace inside the opposition 22 to cross for a try reclaiming the lead for Old Wesley. Clontarf regained the lead with a penalty kick but that was to be their last score of the match. Just approaching the hour mark Wesley were again in the opposition 22 and when Andy Kelly got hold of the ball 7 metres from the line he had only one thing on his mind as he bulldozed over for a try. A yellow card for Michael Glynn for a high tackle was offset by a similar punishment for a Clontarf player for a ruck infringement just short of their own try line. Andrew Handcock converted the straightforward penalty, 16-10 and the balance was turning rapidly in Old Wesley’s favour.
With 10 minutes remaining a Wesley penalty was kicked down the line and from the ensuing line out David Flower snuck in in the corner and for the first time in the match Wesley had a two score lead. A penalty kick 5 minutes later by Handcock made it 24-10. Wesley were now in total control and brimming with confidence, whilst the opposition were starting to run out of steam.
There were no further scores and Old Wesley were crowned Metro 5 Champions for 2016-17 with promotion to Metro 4 for next season.
Old Wesley team: Chris Coghlan, Andrew Handcock, Michael Glynn, Graham Claxton, Stephen Young, William Wood, Sam Moore, Phil Power, Dave Taylor, John Wallace, Eric Parfrey, Guy Creswell, Andy Kelly
Sub: Alan Doyle, Michael Raftery, Alan O’Connor, Mark Toal Lennon, Arron McDonnell
Old Wesley scorers: Arron McDonnell, try; Andy Kelly, try; David Flower, try, Graham Claxton, pen; Andrew Handcock, 2 pens.
Click here for photos by Graham White