Rock win puts Wesley in serious Promotion Contention
All Ireland League – Old Wesley 33 Blackrock 15
Up until the last 8 minutes there was never more than one score in this intense game. But two late tries, including a classic from Eoin Stynes (see below), earned Old Wesley a comfortable victory over Blackrock in this Division 2A table topper at Stradbrook.
Blackrock looked the stronger side for much of the first half, and playing with the breeze had Old Wesley under pressure from the start. Indeed on their first visit to the Old Wesley 22 they crossed for a try in the corner and the first score of the match by Dave Rowan. From the restart Wesley brought play into the Rock 22 but they were unable to turn territory into points. Blackrock continued to pile on the pressure but the Old Wesley defence remained solid. 30 minutes into the game Wesley were dealt a blow with an injury to JC Grayling resulting in an earlier than planned start for Wesley Deverell and a reshuffle of the back line. As half time approached it looked like there would be no further scores but from a line out Old Wesley swung the ball wide for a well taken try by Steven Harvey, neatly converted by Ian Cassidy, leaving the half time score 7-5 to Old Wesley.
But Old Wesley had a disastrous start to the second half. Right from the kick off a break by Blackrock on their own 22 saw the ball being carried through a number of hands finishing with a try under the posts by Richie Marsh. But the Rock kick back was short lived. Wesley increased their intensity and were also benefiting from the breeze. Their bigger pack forced the home side to concede 2 kickable penalties, both of which Cassidy converted to regain a 13-12 lead. The home side responded with a penalty of their own to retake the lead. However as the final quarter approached it was Wesley who were starting to look the more potent side. Substitute Michael Dunleavy was nearly over for a try but in their desperation Blackrock conceded a penalty under the posts and also a yellow card for their number 14. Cassidy, who was now starting to give a master class in kicking, converted to regain a 16-15 lead. Wesley, through Ian McGann and Michael Dunleavy were now starting to dominate the line outs, stealing a couple of opposition throw ins. With ten minutes to go Cassidy extended the lead to 19-16 with another penalty lick. The Wesley dominance eventually told. With 8 minutes to go a break by Cassidy brought play into the opposition 22, the ball was quickly recycled and passed out the line finishing with a classic try in the corner by Eoin Stynes(see video at the bottom of page). To rub salt in the wound Cassidy again converted and suddenly there was no way back for Blackrock. As full time approached Wesley were awarded a penalty 35 meters out which was kicked down the line by Rory Stynes. From the resulting line out the Old Wesley pack bull dozed their way over the line for a try by sub hooker Craig Telford. Cassidy again converted leaving the final score Old Wesley 33 Blackrock 15
The victory puts Old Wesley 10 points clear of second place Blackrock and in serious promotion territory. However this mature side will not let their heads get too big and will see the win as just another hurdle successfully negotiated.
Team: Rory Stynes, Steven Harvey, Johann Greyling, Ger Finucane, Eoin Stynes, Alan Large (capt), Ian Cassidy, Ken Knaggs, David Rowley, David Henshaw, Richie Morrow, Iain McGann, Darren Horan, Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley. Subs: Craig Telford, Oltian Dervishi, Josh Hinde, Michael Dunleavy, Wesley Deverell.
Old Wesley scorers: Steven Harvey, try; Eoin Stynes, try, Craig Telford, try, Ian Cassidy, 3 cons, 4 pens.