Wesley stop the Shannon – AIL Old Wesley 20 Shannon 18
This was rugby as it should be. A tight and hard fought match between two evenly balance sides both eager to run the ball whenever possible. The lead changed three times, there was never more than eight points between the sides, and the result went down to the last kick of the game.
Old Wesley were eager to continue where they left off last weekend and were first on the scoreboard after five minutes when Paul Harte crossed in the corner after Mark Rowley took on the ball to delivering a perfect pass. Shannon pulled back three points with a penalty goal and then 14 minutes in a neat chip by Ronan McKenna was picked up by David O’Donovan who crossed for a try. The conversion was missed leaving the score 8-5 to the Limerick men. Indeed both side’s kickers were to leave behind a number of points before the match was finished. Old Wesley centre Ger Finucane was having a fine game with some strong ball carries but was unable to assist in contributing to the Wesley scoreboard. Both sides had scoring opportunities having gained line out position in the opposition 22, but equally both defences stood up and there were no further scores before half time.
Shannon started the second half the more lively and after just four minutes a move down the right touchline saw Richie Mullane cross in the corner. The conversion was missed but Old Wesley clearly needed the next score. This they did when inspirational scrum half and captain Ian Cassidy made a fine break off a line out on the opposition 22. He sliced his way through the defence to within 5 meters of the line before delivering a perfect offload pass to Iain McGann for his second try in two weeks. Cassidy converted to make it a one point game. And the captain was on the score sheet again five minutes later converting a penalty from 30 meters out following a high tackle to regain a 15-13 lead for Old Wesley. Stephen Boyle went off to be substituted by Rory Kerins but was back on a minute later when Daren Horan was forced to retire with an injury. With 4 minutes on the clock Wesley were starting to dominate and following a fine attacking move the ball was swung out to Billy Ngwini who broke a couple of tackles to score in the corner. Again the conversion was missed and Old Wesley led by 7 points. But their dominance was dealt a blow when Cassidy was given a yellow card for a foot trip and suddenly Shannon gained in confidence. As the match went into injury time Shannon continued to bombard the Wesley defence and in the last play of the game Shane Airey crossed for a try. Two points in it and a difficult conversion into a swirling wind; the wind won out and the kick was just wide.
This was a valuable victory for Old Wesley as they turned around the loss from when the sides met in October. Old Wesley now have a weekend off before meeting Dublin University in two weeks time.
Old Wesley team: Rory Stynes, Paul Harte, Billy Ngwini, Ger Finucane, James Nolan, Adam Kennedy, Ian Cassidy [Capt], Davy Henshaw, David Rowley, James Burton, Josh Hinde, Iain McGann, Darren Horan, Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley,
Subs: Oltian Dervishi, Craig Telford, Rory Kerins, Billy Henshaw, Barry McLaughlin,
Old Wesley scorers: Paul Harte, Try; Iain McGann, Try; Billy Ngwini Try; Ian Cassidy, Con, Pen.