ALL IRELAND LEAGUE DIV 1B – OLD WESLEY 9 OLD BELVEDERE 9
Played in wet and grey conditions this match had draw written all over it from start to finish. There were never more that 3 points between the sides, and although they were not recorded, possession and territory was shared equally by both sides,
Old Wesley made the early running with a number of visits to the opposition 22, but their defence was well able for it. Equally after a blocked down kick Old Belvedere returned the compliment with a visit to the Wesley 22, which was soon relieved with a kick to touch. Wesley were then dealt a blow when Jack Maybury had to retire with a knee injury, to be replaced by Josh Miller.
The first score came after 23 minutes with a 35 metre penalty goal for the visitors scored by their captain Steve Crosbie. Rory Stynes then restored the balance with a penalty from 25 metres out. Belvo responded immediately with a couple of strong attacks. But they came to nothing following a knock on. And on 35 minutes they made a fine midfield break reaching the Wesley 5 metre line, but again it ended in touch. Wesley responded with a powerful run by Tom Kiersey bringing play back into the opposition half. It eventually resulted in a penalty which Stynes again struck perfectly from 40 metres out, leaving the score at 6-3 to Old Wesley at half time.
Kiersey was on hand again early in the second half with another fine run, but it ended in nothing. Crosby then kicked another penalty to tie the teams on 6 all. And soon after Kiersey, who was now asking serious questions of the opposition, took play back into their territory; again no score ensued. Crosby and Stynes exchanged penalties from relatively close in leaving it 9 all with 10 minutes remaining.
Wesley then had their best chance of a try. Tommy O’Callaghan used his speed and skill with 25 metre run bringing play up to the opposition 22. From recycled ball Mark Rowley made further ground passing to Bill Corrigan, however his pass to Iain McGann did not go to hand for what would almost certainly have been a try near the posts. Belvo then had their chance to clinch victory when they were awarded a penalty 35 metres out. However this time Crosby, who like Stynes, had kicked 3 out of 3 so far, pushed the kick wide.
So the match ended as a draw, coincidentally the same result, although a different points tally, to the same fixture last season. Next week it’s off to Buccaneers, who are the only non Leinster or Ulster team in the league.
OLD WESLEY SCORERS – Rory Stynes, 3 pens.
TEAM: Rory Stynes, Thomas O’Callaghan, Bill Corrigan, Alan Gaughan, Jack Maybury, Tom Kiersey, Charlie O’Regan, Harry Noonan, Andrew McCrann, James Burton, JJ O’Dea, Iain McGann (capt), Paul Derham, Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley.
Replacements: Padraig Cullen, Craig Telford, Darren Horan, Josh Pim, Josh Miller
Photos by Deryck Vincent and Ken Richardson