All Ireland League – Old Wesley 26 St Mary’s 16
After a slow start two second half tries by David Poff and James O’Donovan helped Old Wesley to beat Dublin rivals St. Mary’s in round 3 of the AIL.
St. Mary’s had the better start when in the first play of the match and after just 1 minute and 20 seconds their tight head prop Michael McCormack bundled over for a try. Ruari Shields converted for a 7 nil lead. Shields extended the lead for the visitors on 7 minutes with a 45 meter penalty goal. Old Wesley eventually got off the mark with a Rory Stynes penalty goal after 12 minutes. A thundering midfield run by Donnchadh Phelan brought play up to the Mary’s 5 metre line, however the attack ended after a knock on. Stynes doubled the Wesley score with a second penalty goal from virtually the same spot as the first. From the restart the Dublin 6 side made the error of kicking off on the full resulting in a Wesley scrum on half way, and this signalled the start of a revival by the home side.
A Mary’s high tackle allowed Wesley to gain a line out in the opposition 22, however no scores ensued. Wesley were gaining the territorial advantage and then a break by the experienced Stephen Boyle gave them another strong position. However it ended after a knock on eventually leading to half time and the score 10-6 to the visitors.
Wesley started the second half where they left off and the break came just 5 minutes in. Off a line out, a run by scrum half Charlie O’Regan had Wesley into the opposition 22. He passed to David Poff who weaved past a number of defenders to score under the posts. Stynes converted with ease to give Wesley the lead for the first time in the match. Mary’s responded immediately with some strong attacking, but conceded a penalty allowing Wesley to lift the siege. However a well struck 40 metre penalty kick by Shields levelled the score.
A neat kick ahead and catch by Tom Kiersey, taken on by Ed O’Keeffe had the Wesley supporters on their feet, but frustratingly it again ended after a knock on. Stynes regained the lead for Wesley with a 40 metre penalty goal. Again St. Mary’s responded. A quickly taken penalty had the Wesley defence on high alert. They stopped the attack but conceded a close range penalty allowing Shields to again level the score.
Now with less than 7 minutes remaining a speculative kick down the wing had the visitors at 6s and 7s. Wesley collected and after some neat handling James O’Donovan crossed to score a try in the corner. Substitute Josh Miller nailed the conversion for a 7 point lead. With the clock now approaching the red Wesley were awarded a penalty on the opposition 10 metre line. Miller was again on hand with a perfect strike putting the nail in the coffin for the visitors. The full time whistle followed for a deserved victory for Old Wesley.
The win makes it 3 out of 3 for Old Wesley, and keeps them in 3rd place in the league, just 2 points off the leaders.
Old Wesley Team: Rory Stynes, Tommy O’Callaghan, David Poff, James O’Donovan, Ed O’Keeffe, Tom Kiersey, Charlie O’Regan, Harry Noonan, Ben Burns, Conor Maguire, Donnchadh Phelan, JJ O’Dea, Conor Barry, Stephen Boyle, Paul Derham (Capt). Replacements: Craig Telford, James Burton, Ian Condell, Paddy McKenzie, Josh Miller.
Old Wesley scorers: David Poff, try; James O’Donovan, try; Rory Stynes, con, 3 pens, Josh Miller, con, pen.