Old Wesley got their 203-4 AIL campaign off to a flying start with a comprehensive 54 – 15 bonus point victory over Limerick side Old Crescent at Donnybrook.
Wesley started with all guns blazing keeping play in the opposition half and after 6 minutes they were awarded a penalty which Barry McLaughlin converted with ease. McLaughlin was on hand again shortly after when he received the ball out wide and outsprinted the defence to score under the posts. Wesley’s second try came following a harmless kick ahead and a mix up in defence to let Darren Horan score, again under the posts.
Approaching the half hour the visitors eventually got off the mark with a converted try following a series of penalties and some considerable forward pressure near the Wesley line. Five minutes later they were over again and a sense of worry crept into the Wesley camp. However the worry was short lived as some good attacks brought play to within 10 meters of the Crescent line. Desperate defence forced them to concede a penalty, which McLaughlin easily kicked, and also to receive a yellow card. Then just before half time captain Alan Large found a huge hole in the Crescent back line to cross untouched giving Old Wesley a handsome 30-12 lead going into half time.
The third quarter saw the home side start to mark their authority on the game. The backline continued to find holes in the defence whilst the forwards won a number of turnovers. Despite the shortage of scores it was a matter of when rather than if Wesley would score the bonus point try. It came with 8 minutes to go. A break by Richie Morrow from within his own half brought play into the opposition half. Quick recycled ball continued the attack where it was fed to McLaughlin who once again showed his pace to cross for the try. However the try was marred by some foul play off the ball resulting, after a long discussion between the Italian referee and touch judges, in a red card for the Old Crescent prop Shane Murphy and Old Wesley’s Richie Morrow. The ugly scenes continued in the next scrum where influential Old Wesley prop Kenny Knaggs appeared to receive a punch from an opponent leaving him laid out on the ground.
However at this stage the result was in no doubt and the Limerick men were running out of steam. With normal time up a speculative Alan Large cross kick looked harmless however Steven Harvey showed great pace beating his opponent to the line to touchdown. A late rally by the visitors came to naught and was turned over. From the counter attack some excellent back line handling saw substitute winger Eoin Stynes cross for the sixth try.
All round a very satisfying result which puts Old Wesley top of the table after week one.
Team: Rory Stynes, Barry McLaughlin, Steven Harvey, Kieran Hurrell, Richie Jermyn, Alan Large (capt) ,Ian Cassidy, Kenny Knaggs, Craig Telford, James Burton, Paul McCarroll, Iain McGann, Darren Horan, Thomas Ratahi, Richie Morrow. Subs: Jamie Boyle, Davy Henshaw, Stephen Boyle, Josh Hinde, Eoin Stynes
Old Wesley scorers: Thomas Ratahi, Alan Large, Steven Harvey, Eoin Stynes, try each, Barry McLaughlin, 2 tries, 6 cons, 4 pens