All Ireland League – Old Wesley 23 Naas 31
For 60 minutes Old Wesley looked like they might, for the second week in a row, upset the odds with a win over a higher ranked team. However it was not to be with the visitors scoring two late tries to deny Wesley even a loser’s bonus point.
The first half was fairly evenly balanced with both sides attempting to gain a foothold in the match. After just 4 minutes JJ O’Dea made one of his typical breaks into the opposition half and after some further good ball handling Tommy O’Callaghan jinked his way in to score the first try of the match. Rory Stynes converted the kick to take a 7 nil lead. Then 10 minutes later it was Naas’s turn to score, which they did after some concerted forward pressure, with Paulie Tolofua claiming the grounding. Peter Osborne converted.
Stynes, who has now established himself as an accurate place kicker, slotted two penalties. The first after a scrum infringement by Naas, and the second after Wesley forced an error following some good carries into the opposition 22. This left the score at 13-7 to Old Wesley at half time.
Naas had the first scoring opportunity of the second half, however Osborne was wide of the target with the penalty attempt. The Kildare men were starting to gain the upper hand with ball possession which was not helped by the Wesley line out, which functioned perfectly the previous week, coming under pressure from the opposition. Then approaching the hour mark some solid play by Old Wesley forced another penalty just inside the Naas half. Stynes again stepped up and from 45 metres out split the posts, much to the pleasure of the Wesley supporters. Now with a 2 score advantage Wesley looked they might be set for a win. But Naas responded immediately bringing play up to the Wesley 22 and after some loose tackling Osborne got in for a try under the posts, which he converted with ease. The Naas resurgence continued and they forced a penalty, which Osborne kicked, to retake the lead. From the restart Paul Derham won possession and following some slick handling Cronan Gleeson bundled over close to the posts for a converted try, 23-17 to Old Wesley. Then Naas responded from the restart. Following a blocked down kick Wesley were forced to concede a 5 metre scrum. Naas ran wide for Fionn Higgins to score in the corner. Osborne struck the conversion perfectly and Naas were back in the lead.
Wesley responded immediately throwing everything at the opposition, but with 3 minutes remaining, an intercept pass taken by Higgins who ran the length of the pitch for a try under the posts put an end to any chances of a Wesley win. There was no way back leaving it a fruitless and disappointing result for Old Wesley.
OLD WESLEY SCORERS – Tommy O’Callaghan, try; Cronan Gleeson, try; Rory Stynes, 2 cons, 3 pens;
TEAM: Rory Stynes, Thomas O’Callaghan, Bill Corrigan, David Poff, Paul Harte (capt), Tom Kiersey, Charlie O’Regan, Cronan Gleeson, Ben Burns, James Burton, JJ O’Dea, Iain McGann, Paul Derham, Josh Pim, Mark Rowley.
Replacements: Harry Noonan, Andrew McCrann, Darren Horan, Josh Miller. Cillian Monahan.