AIL – Old Wesley 10 Shannon 17
On a cold, wet and breezy afternoon involving much jumping up and down to keep warm, Old Wesley took on the only Limerick team in the league, Shannon, at Donnybrook.
Old Wesley had the opening advantage of the match when awarded a penalty just inside the Shannon half. However from the ensuing line out they knocked on. Indeed and not surprising with the conditions of the day both sides were to concede handling errors throughout the match. Soon after, the shoe was on the other foot when Shannon had a line out inside the Wesley 22. After a couple of recycles Shannon centre Nathan Randals found a gap in the Wesley defence and crossed for the first try of the match. With the conversion it was 7 nil to the visitors. This spurred on the opposition and they had Wesley under pressure for the following 10 minutes. Wesley weathered the storm, the non meteorological one anyway, and after 23 minutes got revenge. Capitalising on a knock on advantage a neat cross kick by Tom Kiersey was collected by Tommy O’Callaghan on the wing. He made good ground passing to David Poff and back to Kiersey who continued the attack. The final pass was to James O’Donovan who beat a couple of defenders to score in the corner. And a perfect conversion, into the wind, by Rory Stynes had the sides level.
On the half hour mark Shannon had Wesley in trouble again with a line out inside their 22; however Wesley escaped following a crooked throw. Then as half time approached the home side were doing the attacking and spent some time hammering the opposition line. This led eventually to a penalty 15 metres out just wide of the posts. However the normally very reliable Stynes pushed the kick wide leaving the score 7 all at half time.
Old Wesley started the second half where they left off putting in multiple carries inside the Shannon 22. No try ensued but Wesley were awarded a penalty in a similar position to the one late in the first half. This time however Stynes made no mistake, converting for a 10-7 lead. 2 minutes later Wesley had a further opportunity to extend the lead but the more difficult penalty kick was missed.
Both sides had further opportunities to score but were frustratingly denied, mainly by the difficult conditions. This frustration had the effect of causing minor scraps after some of the referee decisions, and indeed the referee had to talk to both team captains on a number of occasions. With just over 10 minutes on the clock the Limerick men were awarded a penalty 35 metres out, and aided by the breeze Ben Daly converted to level the scores. From the restart Wesley seemed to have the match under control pinning Shannon into their own half and making occasional visits to their 22. It looked as though they would end up, at worst, with a draw.
Then in an instant a kick ahead had Wesley back on their own goal line. Following a reset scrum the Shannon pack had Wesley on the back foot. The referee adjudged a Wesley infringement and immediately awarded a penalty try. This was immediately followed by the full time whistle and a heartbreaking loss for Old Wesley.
After the match there was much debate and discussion over the penalty try, however debate and discussion does not change results and Old Wesley settled for a loser’s bonus point. Wesley retain 2nd place in the league but are now 9 points adrift of leaders Highfield.
Old Wesley Team :Rory Stynes, Tommy O’Callaghan, James O’Donovan, David Poff, Richie Walsh, Tom Kiersey, Craig Miller, Conor Maguire, Ben Burns, James Burton, JJ O’Dea, Iain McGann (c), Ian Condell, Josh Pim Paul Derham. Replacements- Luke Thompson, Harry Noonan, Stephen Boyle, Brendan Monahan, Josh Miller.
Scorers – James O’Donovan, try; Rory Stynes, con, pen.