Metro League Division 5 – Old Wesley 4ths 15 Naas 7
Andy Handcock – try, penalty & conversion,
Max Lane – try
(30th Sept) Having once and for all laid to rest the Friday hoodoo that surrounded this superstitious Wesley side the week before, the pre match coffees this time round were met with a nervous excitement for different reasons. What sort of Naas team would we face? Would Alan O’Connor’s tyrannical rage consume him and lead him to injury ahead of his impending nomadic journey (nothing new there!) across the USA’s famed Bible Belt? Regardless, the time drew near and everyone made their way to the ground. With physical ailments mounting following the Greystones encounter, Dan was as busy as Max Lane the night before, his chest now as smooth as Dave Priestman’s side burns in preparation of the tape he required. The changing room groaned (lead chiefly by Joe Wheatley) as a result of the wavering weather conditions which were severally deteriorating. The virtues of the all-weather pitch held firm as discontent was traded for rugby gear and the players made their way towards the pitch.
With a rousing warm up under the belts, Wesley were ready to take to the field and face off against the same opponents as in last season’s league final. Wesley struggled to gain possession in the opening exchanges but high intensity in defence ensured that the Wesley line wasn’t breached. After sustained pressure in the Wesley half, Naas were awarded a penalty and opted to go for goal. Fortunately, Naas missed and play resumed.
The threat of a Naas score was exactly the tonic Wesley needed and what followed was nothing short of inspiration. Some fantastic play by backs and forwards alike resulted in a ruck camped a few metres from the Naas line. Uncharacteristically Boyler picked from the base and trucked towards the line. As he crossed, silence fell on Donnybrook stadium. With the ref taking his time, neither team knew the outcome until he deemed that Andy was held up. Scrum five. A three pointer is what resulted and Wesley were finding their groove. Following several phases in the Naas 22, Wesley found it difficult to counteract the resolute defence of the Kildare men, until Coghlan fed Joe down the short side. Wheatley, galloping like a man possessed but was cut down just short of the line. Loitering around the backfield with severe intent, Handcock got a sniff of the tryline, taking a short ball, spun through a tackle and crashed over with the assistance of some of his team mates. He also kicked the conversion to leave the score 10-0 at half time.
The second half descended into rugby anarchy, neither team playing the game as it was intended. An error strewn half provided a few moments of passion between the sides with local hard men Lane and Handcock providing entertainment for the crowd. Alert to the threat of violence, Power was nowhere to be seen. Cowardice prevailed once more. Some sloppy play at ruck time resulted in a Wesley penalty on the Naas ten metre line. Captain DT signaled Glynn to the touchline. Glynn obliged, sticking a peach of a ball 5 metres from the Naas line. Wheatley soared in the air to claim the ball, Lane popped out of the resulting maul and dotted down. Play was not done yet, clearly determined to show they were no slouches, Naas touched down towards the closing stages of the game through strong carrying. Final score Wesley 15 – Naas 7.
With Max’s unsightly chest tucked away for the evening and the squad delighted with the win, the team reverted to the newly refurbished Clubhouse for some sandwiches and refreshments. Being All-Ireland weekend, there was severe pressure to head to Coppers. This reporter is lead to believe Mr. O’Connor’s nous spotted this as a strong marketing opportunity so that he could drum up business from local Dubs for his new driveway paving enterprise (Enquire within). An eager O’Connor departed McSorelys with his chief lieutenants determined ‘to do a job.’
Having converted on the pitch with no hassle earlier in the evening, this weary reporter left it to ten point man Andy Handcock to try and also convert off the pitch, details of which he will reveal in his own report following the next game against MU Barnhall