AIL – Old Wesley 24 Shannon 24
(26th Nov) Old Wesley came away from Limerick with a 24 all draw against Shannon but will count themselves lucky that the opposition place kicker was not on form on the day. Wesley looked the stronger in the opening exchanges and were rewarded with a try after 3 minutes by James Burton, which was converted by Barry McLaughlin. But Shannon responded soon with a try of their own by Ronan McKenna. Just before the 20 minute mark Wesley were awarded a penalty 15 metres out from the opposition line. Ignoring the option of a penalty goal or a kick to touch a speculative cross kick by Tim Clifford found McLaughlin in open territory on the right wing, where he collected the kick and grounded for a try. He converted once again and Wesley seemed to be firmly back in the driving seat. Then just before half time Wesley were penalised for persistent infringement and Davy Henshaw was shown a yellow card.
Shannon started the second half the sharper and now with the hill and breeze advantage had Old Wesley on the back foot. Their pressure was converted into a try by Ty Chan from a line out and maul, but again their place kicker was off target leaving the score 14-10 to the visitors. Wesley needed to score next to stem the flow of an opposition deluge, which they did. A break by Ger Finucane took play into the Shannon half. He kicked ahead and substitute winger Paul Harte did very well to collect and cross for a try. Again McLaughlin was on target to make it 21-10 to Old Wesley. But the hosts were not finished and after Old Wesley out half Tim Clifford received a yellow card Shannon capitalised on the weakness to cross for a try by Lee Nicholas from a line out inside the Wesley 22. This time their kicker was on target to close the gap to 4 points. Now with their tails in the air the Limerick side were starting to look very potent. Virtually straight after the restart winger Shane Mullally sliced through the Wesley defence for Shannon’s fourth try which was again converted and for the first time in the game Wesley were trailing.
Somehow Wesley were able to regroup and McLaughlin capitalised on a Shannon offence with another well struck kick to draw the sides level at 24 all. Now in the last quarter Shannon looked as though they were on target for victory however they put two relatively straightforward penalty kicks wide. Wesley were thrown a life line when Shannon substitute Will Leonard received a yellow card for cynical play and soon after a forwards try looked to be on only for the referee to award a penalty for obstruction. Shannon again missed a late penalty kick. Not prepared to accept the draw Old Wesley full back Rory Stynes counterattacked and indeed with some good interplay brought play back into the opposition half. However it came to naught and there were no further scores.
Old Wesley will be disappointed with the result against a side at the bottom end of the table, but will be grateful that the accurate boot of McLaughlin saved the day.
Old Wesley team: Rory Stynes, Barry McLaughlin, Isaac Leota, Ger Finucane, Alan Jeffares, Tim Clifford, Adam Griggs, Davy Henshaw, Conor Maguire, James Burton, Michael Dunleavy, Josh Hinde, Darren Horan (capt), Jonathan O’Sullivan, Mark Rowley. Subs: Craig Telford, Martin Gately, Stephen Boyle, Alan Large, Paul Harte
Old Wesley scorers: James Burton, Try; Paul Harte, Try;Barry McLaughlin, Try, 3 Cons, Pen