All Ireland League – Old Wesley 33 UL Bohemians 5
Newly promoted Old Wesley opened their Ulster Bank League Division 1B campaign with an impressive bonus point victory over UL Bohemian by 33-5 in Thomond Park on Saturday.
On a largely fine day, and played on an excellent sod both sides began briskly. But the home side unfortunately lost their outhalf Robbie Burke with a facial injury in the first play of the game. As Wesley were coming to terms with the increased pace at this level, they were overturned close to half way in the 6th minute and Bohs countered quickly with an astute kick to the right corner. The ball was pounced on over the line by speedy centre Darren Moroney for the opening score. Replacement No.10 Rick McKenna struck an upright with the difficult conversion.
This was an early wake up call for Wesley that ironically seemed to accelerate their settling in process. With their pack getting on top in the tight it didn’t take long for Barry McLaughlin to land two out of three penalty attempts by the 17th minute to take a lead they would never lose. Ten minutes later Craig Telford was credited with the visitors’ first try following an excellent lineout drive. Then just before half time McLaughlin tagged on another penalty to leave the score 14-5 at the interval.
With Bohs desperately trying to get back into the game Wesley scrum half and captain Ian Cassidy intercepted a pass on half way and sped in under the posts to increase the lead. This was a fatal blow for the home side and a confidence booster for Wesley, with their backs increasingly making good use of a steady stream of ball from a pack which was now firmly in control.
Try number three came from a sweeping back move down the right wing finished off and converted by McLaughlin after 55 minutes. Bohs, who never gave up, missed a few kickable penalties and were thwarted on a number of occasions inside the visitors 22 by some excellent defending. However Wesley lifted the siege and with 5 minutes to go, a further period of forward dominance led to the bonus point fourth try scored close in by big No. 4 Josh Hinde who, as always, has a good eye for the try line!
Overall an excellent debut in 1B by Wesley which should stand them in good stead for the expected tougher challenges ahead, beginning with the visit of Buccaneers to Donnybrook next Saturday.
Old Wesley team: Rory Stynes, Barry McLaughlin, Billy Ngawini, Ger Finucane, Niall O’Brien, Alan Large, Ian Cassidy [Capt], Davy Henshaw, Craig Telford, Oltian Dervishi, Josh Hinde, Iain McGann, Darren Horan, Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley. Subs: Dave Rowley, Martin Gately, Ivan Campbell, Garry O’Brien, James Nolan
Old Wesley scorers: Craig Telford, try; Ian Cassidy, try; Josh Hinde, try: Barry McLaughlin, try, 2 cons, 3 pens.