As the junior teams finished last weekend for the mid-season break the teams find themselves in the following positions with just over half the league campaigns played.
The 3rd xv playing in metro 2 top the league 10 points clear with 8 wins from 8.
We started the season with a very enjoyable old school trip to Cork Con. We played a mixture of their 2xv and under 20s and won in a tough match this was a good test for us before the start of the league. Plenty of pints where had and a good old sing song; Robbie Love suffered stage fright when asked to sing a song and forgot a number of verses of his famous rendition of Wild Rover.
First up in the league was Mary’s 2nds at home who would be considered one of the top teams in the league. They fielded a very strong team and after a slow start and conceding three tries we recovered well and put in a very strong and brave performance in the 2nd half to run out winners 24-15.
This was followed up by a large win against Belvo and a bonus point win against Naas. A trip to Ballycorus the weekend of the hockey was next up and we came out winners in a very tight match 21-19 against NU Barnhall. In the next three games we beat Lansdowne, Clontarf and Greystones.
Last Sunday we played our last game before the break; the return fixture against Mary’s. The game was switched to Donnybrook just 2 hours before the official kick off. Mary’s, lying in 2nd place, meant this was a battle of the top two and was always going to be a tight match. Down 13-3 with 30 mins to go we finally managed to put some phases together, and the pressure paid off scoring two tries and coming out winners 20-13 to maintain our 100% record.
After 7 games played, the 4th XV have won 3, lost 3, drawn 1 and lie fourth in the league. The two best performances to date were a 26-21 win at home against Greystones 3rds, and a first ever away win in Rathdrum with a bonus point collected as well. This has been a bogey fixture for Old Wesley teams over the years. On the debit side, there were bonus point defeats home and away, to Naas 3rds. The 4ths are currently 9 points behind league leaders, UCD 3rds. With 5 games left to play, a top 2 finish is achievable if the team is more settled in the New Year, given that 45 players have been used so far.
January sees the start of the cup and the 4ths will be keen to retain their Moran Cup title from last year.
After being promoted in the previous three seasons, playing in Metro league division five was always going to be a challenge for the Old Wesley RFC 5ths. In our first couple of matches we were defeated by one point by both Wanderers and St. Marys. After those two frustrating defeats we beat CYM 27 – 17 in Donnybrook. Our next match was against the league leaders Stillorgan-Rathfarnham and on a miserable day in Three Rock Rovers we were beaten 18 – 8. Despite this defeat there was a definite sense that the team was beginning to gel under the watchful eyes of the coaches and the ever growing influence of captain John Wallace.
In our next three matches we beat Old Belvedere 33 – 12, Lansdowne 19 – 13 and in our last match before Christmas we beat Wanderers 26 – 23 in a great match in Donnybrook. The highlight of this successful run was definitely Nigel Lowther’s lung busting try against Lansdowne; it was a pleasure to be present at such a special event. We are now second in the league and we are really looking forward to the obvious challenges that the rest of the season will bring.
The defeat of Wanderers was followed by the 5th’s Christmas party which involved way too much Blue WKD and the celebration of a very dubious birthday! Our recent success on the pitch has coincided with celebrations in the Willis, Wallace and Moore families. Congratulations to Jonny, Colin and Brian on the births of their sons and daughter.
Junior player of the month winners Tim Hawe for September-October and Conor Boyd for November were fully deserved with both players consistently putting in big performances and showing great commitment in matches and at training.
All teams are looking to finish their league campaigns strongly and all three are still very much in the hunt for silverware. We also look forward to the cup draws were we will be looking to defend the O’Connell cup and Moran cup. The 5ths will be in the Winters cup draw.
The junior players also have a tour to Northern Spain at the end of April to look forward to; the first tour for a number of years. With over 30 players and alikados already signed up this will be one not to be missed. The tour will be managed by Robbie Love. Robbie likes to remind us he’s never been beaten whilst coaching a touring team living off the two test series win in Portugal 17 years ago.
Stuart Kinlan – Chairman of Junior Rugby