Lansdowne spoil Metro Cup party
Metro Cup Final – Old Wesley 13 Lansdowne 18
Following on from their very close defeat to the same opposition last week in the Metro 1 League Final, the Seconds suffered further heartbreak on Sunday in Donnybrook in the Metro Cup Final when losing, somewhat unluckily, to a very strong Lansdowne team on a score line of 18-13.
Wesley, playing with the wind in the first half, started very well and put a strong “marker “ down in the early exchanges, with Jack Maybury converting a penalty for an early lead. Lansdowne levelled the score at 3-3 soon after with a penalty. The Wesley line out was a well-oiled machine with Donnchadh Phelan calling the shots and having a massive game. The youthful Zak Bursey stepped up to this level in impressive fashion and has a very bright future. On 8 minutes, after a clever kick by Tim Clifford, Jack Maybury was unlucky not to score in the corner. The Wesley pressure finally told on 12 minutes when impressive flanker, Daniel Gilmer, crashed over and, with Maybury adding the points, Wesley had a useful 10-3 lead.
On 14 minutes, Maybury, in the process of making a brave tackle, suffered a head injury which, unfortunately, ended his day. Wesley were continuing to play most of the rugby and after a good break by Richie Jermyn, scrum half, Craig Miller made a sniping run and Lansdowne were forced to concede a penalty under the posts which Tim Clifford knocked over to extend the lead to 13-3. One cause for Wesley concern in the first half was the scrum and, unfortunately, this manifested itself just before half time when, after a Wesley knock on near their line. Lansdowne applied the pressure in the ensuing scrum, forcing Wesley to concede a penalty try – half time score Wesley 13 Lansdowne 10.
With the wind at their backs in the second half, Lansdowne applied early pressure, but excellent Wesley defence kept them at bay and the much improved scrum forced a penalty, which was a great boost. On 55 minutes, a great run by Alan Jeffares almost yielded a score but resolute Lansdowne defence held them out. Then on 62 minutes, there was a pivotal moment in the match – Lachlan Anderson made a very brave tackle on an imposing Lansdowne forward, but the referee interpreted it as a high tackle and the subsequent sanction of a penalty and yellow card had a significant influence on the match. Lansdowne kicked the penalty to level the scores at 13-13.
The Wesley 14 redoubled their efforts during the next 10 minutes and, with superb play, managed to keep the score line intact, with replacement Johnny O’Sullivan making an immediate impact. Indeed, Wesley had some excellent attacks, with strong-running winger, Shane Brennan causing problems for the Lansdowne defence. Then with 2 minutes to go and extra time beckoning, out of nowhere, a Lansdowne forward breached the Wesley defence from the half way line and ran strongly to ground for the winning try. In the limited time available, try as they might, Wesley could not snatch the winning score and the final whistle blew with Lansdowne the victors by 18-13.
This was another excellent match between two superb sides, although it will be scant consolation to the disappointed Wesley side, who, at the very least, deserved to get one victory from these two finals between two very well matched sides.
Team : Lachlan Anderson, Jack Maybury, Richard Jermyn, Alan Jeffares, Shane Brennan, Tim Clifford, Craig Miller, Conor Maguire, Craig Telford, Padraig Cullen, Aaron Browne, Zak Bursey, Donnchadh Phelan, Daniel Gilmer, Andrew McCrann. REPLACEMENTS: Mark Deegan, Sam Kenny, Johnathon O’Sullivan, Tom Moorehead, Conor Cunningham.