Mixed results in Junior Leagues
Two Junior matches last weekend (Saturday 6th February) with the 4ths recording a valuable 19-13 win over Old Belvedere to consolidate their position one league status – see report below. However the 5ths went down to Dublin University, final score 31-36
Metro League 6 – Old Wesley 19 Old Belvedere 13, by Michael Glynn
Ballycorus was the venue for Old Wesley’s second encounter of the season versus Old Belvedere.
The result of a playing season harsher than Al O’Connor’s upbringing meant a thinned squad was named to take on the men of Belvo. Coaches were forced to make some bold decisions, opting for a bench of three backs and only two forwards for a game that promised attrition. The pre-match warm up brought the usual banging of Clatch’s war drum, his requirements simple; ‘aggression, physicality and commitment’.
Hoping to get off to a good start the sparse crowd were instantly disappointed when Glynn’s misjudged drop off found itself carried out on the full by a strong gust. Unfortunately poor kicking and missed touch would remain a constant factor in a scrappy encounter of rare opportunity. Belvo spent their afternoon running confidently with the ball in hand, continuously crashing into the wall of red and navy defenders who remained stanch in defence. Mark Toal Lennon led the line with the intensity of a hipster trying to write a novel in a cafe while strung out on the coarse blend of Vietnamese Robusta. The strong centre pairing of Mark Fitzgibbon and Deccy Coughlan had a big day in the middle of the park and were ultimately the difference in a game as tight as Chris Coghlan’s hamstrings.
While strong in defence it was the link play in attack that led to the first try of the afternoon, when Wesley countered a missed kick to touch. Claxton gathered the ball on the half, shifting the point of attack to the centre where he eventually fed Hancock who brought play deep into Belvo territory. I’m not entirely sure what happened next but the ball shook loose from a ruck, allowing the delicate footwork of Fitzgibbon to pass the ball into the path of Deccy who gathered it while sliding over the line. Handcock added the extras as surely as Max Lane in a Nissan show room. Joe Wheatley’s Trojan effort dislodged the ball from a ruck where it was flashed wide to Fitzgibbon who arced around the few remaining black and white defenders. Handcock again with the two points to leave the score at 14-0 at half time.
Facing into the wind for the second half the challenge remained. The forwards took it upon themselves to take the game to Belvo. The pick and go tactic was used with effect. The charge led by Captain, Guy O’Leary and Dave Taylor and even Doyler, the great keyboard warrior of the whatsapp group, made a thundering charge to make some important yards deep into the opposite half. While Laner didn’t have any luck under the restarts he imposed his will on Belvos lineout, commanding the channel at 2 and disrupting and turning ball over where possible.
The game ticked on, and the ref continued to find fault with Wesley at the breakdown. Eventually Laner was the man punished and spent 10 minutes in the bin as his father looked on. Max’s father would only continue to be disappointed as he looked on as his eldest born’s shoulder was dislocated with seconds left on the clock. It was an unfortunate end to a fine performance from Lane and we hope for a speedy recovery to have him back to beast mode in time for Coachella (his 4th Coachella in a row for those not aware). Dec Coughlan crossed the line once more from short range to cap a man of the match performance. With Clatch, Ivan and Poff impressed the team kicked on to the Golden Ball for post-game analysis, chippys, fancy sauce and a few pints of the black.