AIL – Old Wesley 30 Bective Rangers 10
Last Saturday Old Wesley met neighbours Bective Rangers for their now annual Donnybrook derby. As expected the opening exchanges were hard and competitive but Wesley succeeded in keeping play in the opposition half. Barry McLaughlin opened the scoring with beautifully struck long range penalty. Indeed McLaughlin went on to have a fine afternoon with the boot kicking 6 kicks out of 6. Bective eventually made it into the Wesley half and were rewarded with a penalty which Barry Lynne converted to even the scores. But Rangers were guilty of conceding penalties and Wesley capitalised with some fine kicks down the line by Rory Stynes. Then from a line out 5 meters from the line Wesley secured good possession, and after a number of good carries Ian Cassidy eventually crossed under the posts for the first try of the match. McLaughlin converted with ease, McLaughlin extended the Wesley lead to 16-3 with two further penalty kicks and Wesley were looking by far the better side with the pack securing good possession from the set piece and the back line regularly crossing the gain line.
However despite the dominance it was Bective who finished the first half the better. A back line break brought play into the Wesley 22 for only the second time in the match, resulting in influential Bective flanker Conor Harbison crossing for a try. Lynn converted to make it 16-10 at the break.
Spurred on by the late score Bective started to pile on the pressure. 12 minutes into the half they were awarded a penalty 45 meters out but Lynn was short with the kick. Then Wesley looked to be dealt a blow when Cassidy was yellow carded for foul play. However when Bective second row Oisin Lennon was similarly penalised one minute later it negated the disadvantage. With the game now in the final quarter a fairly tame kick ahead by Stynes was followed up by Andrew McCrann who put the Bective defence under big pressure, eventually resulting in a try in the corner by Daren Horan. McLaughlin again obliged with the conversion making it 23-10. Wesley were now back in control and any threat of a Bective comeback was gone. With 10 minutes to go Wesley were again in the opposition 22 and Ger Finucane looked to have scored but the ref got in the way. However Wesley maintained the initiative and this time it was Josh Hinde who got over for try number 3. With full time approaching Wesley ran everything in the hope of scoring the bonus point try but despite some exciting runs it never materialised. However Old Wesley will be very happy not just with the win but also with the performance against a side that has always proved difficult to breakdown.
With second placed NUIM Barnhall losing Old Wesley are now comfortably 5 points clear on top of the table. And with 6 wins out of 6 they are also the only team in the competition with a 100% record. There is now a 3 week break before Old Wesley meet Cashel on 6th December.
Team: Rory Stynes, Barry McLaughlin, Ger Finucane, Steven Harvey, Richie Jermyn, Alan Large (capt), Ian Cassidy, Ken Knaggs, David Rowley, James Burton, Richie Morrow, Josh Hinde, Darren Horan, Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley. Subs: Andrew McCrann, Jurgen Steinbach, Ivan Campbell, Oltian Dervishi, Alan Jeffares
Old Wesley scorers: Ian Cassidy, try; Darren Horan, try; Josh Hinde, try; Barry McLaughlin, 3 cons, 3 pens