All Ireland League – Old Wesley 25 Naas 30
Leading by 2 points and chasing a bonus point Old Wesley conceded a heartbreaking injury time try against Naas in an exciting game at Forenaughts.
With both sides virtually even on 17 points this was always going to be a tight match. Naas had a great start to the season but have lost their recent matches, whereas Old Wesley had a slow start to the season but have won the last three matches.
Naas had the better of the opening stages pinning Wesley in their 22 and looking to run the ball at every opportunity. They were first on the scoreboard with a penalty goal from in front of the posts. Jack Maybury had an opportunity to even the scores with a long range effort but the kick went wide. The hosts were then rewarded for their running game with a try out wide, which was converted for a 10 nil lead. When Wesley were awarded a penalty on the opposition 22 rather than go for goal they took a quick tap and following some good interplay David Poff finished off the move with a try, converted by Maybury. Not long after a super break by Mathew Bursey brought Wesley 40 metres down the pitch before Naas conceded a penalty. This time Maybury went for the points, where he was successful to make the score 10 all. In Dan van Zyl style Naas continued to run the ball, however the Wesley defence stood firm and there were no further scores before half time.
Naas again started the second half the livelier however the damp weather conditions ware costing them some handling errors. Wesley then had a fairly innocent looking line out near the Naas 22. Clean ball was fed quickly out the back line to James O’Donovan who did great work breaking a couple of tackles to score near the posts. Maybury again converted and for the first time in the match Wesley held the lead. However the Kildare men struck right from the kick off and following a penalty advantage for a dangerous tackle they caught out the Wesley defence to score a try in the corner. Their kicker put over the difficult conversion and again the scores were level at 17 all.
As the final quarter approached influential Naas centre Johne Murphy was shown a yellow card for a ruck infringement. Maybury converted the relatively straightforward penalty and it looked like Wesley might gain the upper hand. However right from the kick off Wesley were caught offside and the Naas kicker again levelled the score. Shortly after he repeated the feat this time with a well struck effort from the 10 metre line. However Wesley soon responded from a lineout on the 10 metre line they had Naas on the back foot all the way to the goal line where Conor Maguire got in for try to once again give Wesley the lead.
With 38 minutes gone on the clock Wesley had a golden opportunity to strike for the bonus point try but a pass 20 metres short of the line did not go to hand and the hosts were able to hack the ball down the field. Now Naas had the advantage and after a scrum and a series of attacks and deep in injury time they scored a try in the corner following a deftly struck kick through. That was it and Wesley had to settle for a loser’s bonus point.
The Wesley team and coaches will be very disappointed with this result and no doubt will be going all out for revenge in the return fixture next week.
OLD WESLEY TEAM – Rory Stynes, Jack Maybury, James O’Donovan, David Poff, Eoghan O’Reilly, Tim Clifford, Aaron Atkinson, Cronan Gleeson, Conor Maguire, James Burton, JJ O’Dea, Kieran Murphy, Conor Barry, Stephen Boyle, Mathew Bursey. Replacements – Craig Telford, Martin Gately, John Fitzgerald, Paul Harte, Adam Kennedy
SCORES – David Poff, try; James O’Donovan, try; Conor Maguire, try; Jack Maybury, 2 cons, 2 pens.