Ulster Bank All Ireland League
Old Wesley 12 – Bective Rangers 9
The packed pre match lunch was over, the players reunion had proved a great success and at 2.30pm it was eyes down for the main event of the afternoon. This Donnybrook derby was played at a high rate of knots and with enormous intensity and commitment; and so one would have expected in a match between these two old rivals.
Virtually the whole of the first half was played between both 22s with both teams displaying dogged defence and neither team getting the opportunity to threaten the opposition line. Barry McLaughlin opened the scoring for Old Wesley with a penalty goal after 5 minutes, and just approaching the second quarter extended the lead to 6 nil with another penalty goal. At this stage the Old Wesley pack looked the stronger with prop and captain Kenny Knaggs using his size and strength to good effect. Whilst Wesley could not break through the defence they forced the opposition to concede penalties, and from one of these McLaughlin kicked to extend the Wesley lead to 9 nil. Bective got off the mark after 28 minutes with a well struck penalty from the 10 meter line. McLaughlin had 2 further opportunities to extend the score before half time but struck the upright with one and was wide with the other.
The visitors struck early in the second half with a penalty goal narrowing the gap to 9-6. A Wesley attack led to a rare visit to the opposition 22 but it broke down following a knock on. Bective’s number 8 was yellow carded after 10 minutes for foul play but Wesley were unable to capitalize on the numbers advantage. Indeed it was Bective who had the opportunity to draw level with a long range penalty attempt, but it fell short and wide. Approaching the final quarter Bective were dealt a second yellow card for a ruck infringement and shortly after McLaughlin kicked a relatively straightforward penalty to make it 12-6. Then with 10 minutes John Carroll was shown yellow reducing Old Wesley to 14 men. This spurred on the opposition and from a series of line outs in the Wesley 22 the Bective pack drove over the line however the Wesley defence did just enough to prevent the grounding. Wesley continued to absorb enormous pressure but eventually lifted the siege. With 5 minutes on the clock Bective kicked a third penalty goal but for the remainder of the game the score remained unchanged. The final whistle sounded much to the relief of the Old Wesley team and supporters.
This may not have been the most glamorous of games but it was absorbing to watch and hotly contested from start to finish.
Team: Eoin Stynes, Barry McLaughlin, Steven Harvey, Kieran Hurrell, Wes Deverell, Rory Stynes, Ian Cassidy, Kenny Knaggs (capt),Craig Telford, James Burton, Paul McCarroll, Iain McGann, Thomas Ratahi, Ian Slattery, Richie Morrow. Subs: Davy Henshaw, Andrew McCrann, John Carroll, Steve Boyle, Conor Lavelle
Old Wesley scorers: McLaughlin,4 pens