All Ireland League – Old Wesley 10 Dolphin 22
In a disappointing performance Old Wesley were well beaten by a rampant Dolphin side motivated by their quest to avoid relegation. Apart from a late rally by Old Wesley the opposition dominated for much of the time forcing errors and regularly putting Wesley on the back foot.
Wesley had the worst possible start when they conceded two early penalties inside the opposition half. And the opposition signalled their intensions early that they were out for nothing short of a bonus point win by kicking both times down the line. The gamble paid off and after just 4 minutes they were over for a try by Daryl Foley from a maul off a line out. It got worse for Old Wesley when they lost the first line out against the head and the big Dolphin pack continued to cause havoc for much of the first half in all aspects of play. The Cork side were soon back inside the Wesley 22 with a line out but this time they lost possession allowing Wesley to escape. Old Wesley eventually started to string together a number of promising moves. Ger Finucane was stopped a metre short of the line but was penalised allowing the host side to clear their lines.
Despite their dominance Dolphin led by just 5 points as half time approached but on 34 minutes a neat chip through was picked up by Cillian Monahan who got over under the posts to double their score. Experienced out half Barry Keeshan converted with ease and a few minutes kicked a penalty goal to make it 15 nil to the hosts at half time.
An early second half yellow card for Conor Maguire for cynical play caused more woes for Old Wesley. However Wesley will be happy that whilst down to 14 men they conceded no scores. A line out steal by Iain McGann was a welcome boost and then with 20 minutes of the second half gone a fine break by Tim Clifford brought play up to the Dolphin 22, however Paul Harte was unable to hold the pass. A few more positives gave a spark of hope but a long pass by Rory Stynes was intercepted by Dolphin winger Gerry Ryan who strolled in for try number 3, and it was game over for Old Wesley. Nevertheless with 10 minute to go Wesley started to get some rhythm going and had the opposition pinned in their 22. A neat break by Stynes had Wesley with a two on one overlap allowing David Poff to cross for a try. Two late yellow cards against Dolphin dashed their chances of a bonus point try and it was Wesley who finished the stronger. A fine solo effort and try by Paul Harte doubled the score for Old Wesley, but it was too little too late as the referee blew the final whistle.
Old Wesley travelled to Cork in the hope of a win that would have earned them a top four play- off spot, but will now have to wait until next week to try again. Here they meet another Cork side, UCC, in what will be a straight decider for the fourth play-off spot.
Old Wesley team: Rory Stynes, Isaac Leota, David Poff, Ger Finucane, Paul Harte, Tim Clifford, Adam Griggs, David Henshaw, Conor Maguire, James Burton, Iain McGann (capt), Michael Dunleavy, Josh Hinde, Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley
Subs: David Rowley, Martin Gately, Donnchadha Phelan, Adam Kennedy, Alan Large.
Old Wesley scorers: David Poff, try; Paul Harte, try.