Pirates down u20s with a late penalty. U20 Premiership – Old Wesley 19 Buccaneers 21
It is always a difficult task to travel to Dubarry Park in Athlone to take on Buccaneers RFC and unfortunately, when the JP Fanagan Pennant qualifiers were drawn this was the task we were challenged with. It was a big ask for a brand new U20s side but nevertheless it was met head on.
Played on a heavy pitch in perfect weather conditions, Old Wesley started slowly, getting pinned in our own half for much of the opening quarter. Errors led to a few penalties and before we knew it we were 9 points down. However, the team started to get through a few phases and the tide started turning, putting Buccaneers under some pressure resulting in a good try for Mark Braithwaite in the left corner. We definitely finished the first half the stronger team. The second half saw some better rugby played by both sides and after some sustained pressure on the Buccaneers line, Sam Kenny crashed over for another Old Wesley try. Unfortunately, Buccaneers recognised that they had our scrum under some pressure and targeted this area ,resulting in a few more penalties. With the score at 18-16, Old Wesley dug deep and were eventually rewarded with a kickable penalty. Stepping up to the plate under some pressure, Sean Balance struck a super kick putting us into the lead 19-18 with only minutes to go.
However, on the last play Old Wesley were hit a massive blow with a controversial penalty against us right in front of the posts. It ended 21-19. On the balance of play, Old Wesley, scoring 2 tries against 7 penalties, acquitted themselves very well and, as they settle together as a team, will be a side that other teams will have to be wary of. We now play Skerries on Sunday on the main pitch in Donnybrook at 3pm in a division 2/3 play off. I know that the lads would appreciate all the support that they can get in this important match.