All Ireland League – Old Wesley 31 UL Bohemian 27
On the eve of this match there was an international sports match, in what some people call the beautiful game, where the two teams competed for over an hour and half without a single score. By sharp contrast this exciting and entertaining encounter saw over 60 points, 7 tries and a score line that chopped and changed throughout. And with never more than one score separating the sides the result was uncertain until the final whistle. What a match.
Played in perfect conditions Old Wesley had a dream start when Tim Clifford broke through a couple of tackles to score a try under the posts with just 2 minutes on the clock. He converted himself to make it 7 nil. But the visitors responded quickly and after 8 minutes they levelled the score with a converted try. A good piece of play by Wesley saw David Poff get to within 5 metres of the goal line. However Wesley infringed allowing Bohs to escape. Indeed moments later the shoe was on the other foot as UL Bohs were attacking in the Wesley 22 and it took a massive turnover by Kenny Knaggs to save the day. On 24 minutes a promising attack by Wesley once again had the opposition pinned in their 22. Then a perfectly targeted pass by Josh Hinde hit Rory Stynes who pinned back the ears to cross for try number 2. Clifford again converted to make it 14-7. This was end to end stuff and exhausting for the spectators, let alone for the players. Wesley looked to be on their way to try number 3 but the visitors turned over possession and broke away resulting in a try for them. The conversion again evened things up. The visitors were now getting into their stride and scored another converted try shortly after and for the first time in the game the Limerick men were ahead. But just as half time approached Old Wesley had a scrum 15 metres out from the opposition line. A break from the back of the scrum resulted in a pass to Michael Dunleavy who knew only one way to the line as he bulldozed over for a try. Again Clifford converted to make it honours even, 21 all at the break.
The second half started in a more steady fashion with both teams looking to ‘take their points’. Bohemians slotted two penalty kicks to take a 6 point lead and looked to be gaining the upper hand. Their swift back line was running the ball wide starting to find the odd crack in the Wesley defence. An Old Wesley line out taken against the head had the Wesley spectators groaning, but moments later they were cheering as prolific try scorer David Poff intercepted a mid field pass to sprint in 40 metres to score under the posts. Clifford converted to put Wesley back in the lead 28-27. Clifford them missed a relatively straightforward penalty kick attempt but minutes later was on target to extend the lead to 31-27. A yellow card against Ger Finucane for a high tackle spurred on the opposition who were soon back in Wesley’s 22. However they turned over possession and Wesley breathed a sigh of relief. From the counter attack Paul Harte was late tackled by the winger who in turn received a yellow card. With the game deep in injury time the visitors were throwing everything at Wesley, however the defence held firm and at the next breakdown the referee blew the final whistle.
The result puts Old Wesley 3rd in the league marginally behind UL Bohemians and within touching distance of a top four promotion play-off spot. Next up it’s Dolphin who are propping up the table, but no doubt will be fighting for their lives to avoid relegation.
Old Wesley team: Rory Stynes, Brendan Monahan, David Poff, Ger Finucane, Paul Harte, Tim Clifford, Adam Griggs, Kenny Knaggs, Conor Maguire, James Burton, Iain McGann (capt), Michael Dunleavy, Josh Hinde, Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley
Subs: David Rowley, David Henshaw, Darren Horan, Isaac Leota, Alan Large.
Old Wesley scorers: Tim Clifford, try, 4 cons, pen; Rory Stynes, try; Michael Dunleavy, try; David Poff, try.