Old Wesley 13 – UCC 9
What a difference a week makes! Old Wesley left Cork as victors over UCC only 7 days after a disappointing performance and loss to Highfield. To attack, you have to get your defence right and to a man, Old Wesley kept the lively students at bay. Sore tired bodies appeared in the marvellous Mardyke Clubhouse to be refuelled in preparation for an enjoyable trip home to Donnybrook.
The game commenced with players, officials and spectators observing a minutes silence to remember Nelson Mandela, the likes of whom we may never see again. UCC were 3 nil up after 4 minutes and despite Old Wesley levelling the score on their first visit into the opponents half, signs of a home victory looked a good bet. Old Wesley’s scrum, lineout, groundwork and handling skills deserted them but their defence stood tall until the 38th minute when a penalty conceded left the score at half time 6 – 3 to the Cork Students.
Within 8 minutes of the new half, the teams were level and with Old Wesley finding their rhythm; it was the turn of the students to look vulnerable. A great intercept by Iain McGann saw him gallop 40 meters but possession was lost due to supporting players being unable to keep up with him! UCC rallied to the increased pressure and it was Old Wesley’s defence that was being tested again and again. It held firm until the 64th minute when the home team went ahead 9 – 6 with a penalty goal.
Then came the turning point of the game. A UCC lineout on the half-way line was stolen and substitute Out Half Colin Sheridan, playing in his first AIL game, found touch 5 meters from the try line. Unable to contain the well-coached Old Wesley pack, a driving maul resulted in a welcomed try by James Burton. Barry McLaughlin who had kicked all the points so far, slotted the conversion from the touchline. Old Wesley were ahead for the first time in the game, 13 – 9 and with only 10 minutes remaining, they repelled all UCC’s sorties. The defence line was not broken and the final whistle was greeted with relief and the Old Wesley players being engulfed by the coaching staff and supporters.
Team:– Eoin Stynes, Barry McLaughlin, Steven Harvey, David Potterton, Richie Jermyn, Rory Stynes, Ian Cassidy, Davy Henshaw, Craig Telford, Kenny Knaggs (capt), Iain McGann, Richie Morrow, Darren Horan, Ian Slattery, Stephen Boyle. Replacements:- Kevin Becker, James Burton, John Carroll, Thomas Ratahi, Colin Sheridan.
Scorers:- James Burton (try), McLaughlin (con, 2 pens).