O’Connor Cup Final – Old Wesley 23 AIB 20
Old Wesley 5th team finished off their season and indeed the club’s rugby season in style by winning the O’Connor Cup with a tense and exciting ending, and in doing so winning the league and cup double; only the fourth time in Old Wesley’s history that this has been achieved.
There wasn’t a lot between the two sides in the opening quarter with both teams having some outside scoring opportunities and both guilty of some errors. After Sean Balance missed an early penalty opportunity AIB converted one to take a 3 nil lead. Then with 30 minutes on the clock a clean ball taken off a line out followed by good second phase ball led to a try in the corner by Cathal Corr. This time Balance nailed the conversion from out wide to give Old Wesley a 7-3 lead. The visitors pulled back 3 points with a second penalty then just a neat break by David Priestman led to a second try, this time by Sam Pollock under the posts. Balance easily converted for a 14-6 lead going into half time.
AIB were out of the blocks early after the restart and had Wesley pinned in their own 22. A yellow card for Paul BK did not help. Wesley looked to have done just enough to weather the storm before a break by AIB’s fast left winger and a chip ahead led to their second try. The conversion left Old Wesley leading by just one point. Balance, who was now kicking with confidence, struck again with a penalty for a 4 point gap. Then into the final quarter and AIB had a scrum close to Old Wesley’s line. There number 8 broke and crossed with little difficulty for a try under the posts. With the straightforward conversion suddenly Old Wesley were trailing 17-20 and seemed to be fading. However with 33 minutes on the clock Wesley were awarded a penalty mid way between posts and touchline on the 22. Avoiding the temptation to go for the try Balance again stepped up and converted to leave the sides at 20 all. Would it go to extra time? Then with less than 2 minutes to go a yellow card to AIB and another penalty. Once again Balance was called up and cool as a cucumber converted to regain the lead. From the restart which was last play Wesley regained possession and kicked to touch. Game over and victory to Old Wesley.