Seniors lose to Belvo despite early lead

Seniors lose to Belvo despite early lead

All Ireland League – Old Wesley 31 Old Belvedere 35

Despite leading 24-7 after 35 minutes Old Wesley lost out to neighbours Old Belvedere in round 14 of the AIL

A blistering run by Tommy O’Callaghan straight from the kick off nearly had Old Wesley in for the first try of the match.  They got to within 5 metres before Old Belvedere escaped with a penalty.  A few minutes later Wesley were awarded a penalty which was kicked from 30 metres by Ian Cassidy.  But the lead did not last long.  From a Belvo scrum inside the Wesley 22, centre Jayden Beckett crossed to score near the posts.  With the conversion the visitors led 7-3.

A dangerous tackle on Ian Cassidy forced him to leave the field and he was replaced by Eoin Monahan.  It also meant a yellow card for the offender.  Then after a series of penalties and some enterprising play Wesley had a 5 metre line out.  The ball was won cleanly and mauled over the line for a try by Howard Noonan, converted by Eoin Monahan.  Wesley continued with strong attacks and after 27 minutes Nathan Randles crossed for their second try in the corner after dodging a couple of tacklers. Monahan struck the difficult conversion perfectly.

Wesley’s third try came shortly after when a loose ball was kicked through from the half way.  Howard Noonan chased and forced the Belvedere defender to fumble.  Wesley regained possession and with the opposition defence disorganised Monahan crossed to dot down for try number 3.  Monahan converted his own try and Wesley, after a dream start, led 24-7.

Then suddenly Belvedere seemed to press their on switch. With five minutes to half time, they had a line out near the Wesley line.  From the ensuing maul Wesley were forced to infringe and the referee awarded a penalty try.  The offending Wesley player, Reuben Pim, was also shown a yellow card.  Just two minutes later the visitors were again on the warpath with a line out deep inside the Wesley 22 and this eventually resulted in their third try, which was converted leaving the score at half time, Old Wesley 24 Old Belvedere 21.

Old Wesley started the second half with some gusto and after five minutes had a foothold in the opposition 22. A strong carry by Alex Molloy got him over the line, however the ball was held up and Belvo escaped.  Belvo then had a chance to level the scores with a 40 metre penalty, but the kick fell short.  But a few minutes later Belvedere again had a 5-metre line out.  Once again, their pack flexed their muscles and drove the ensuing maul over the line for a try, which they converted to give them a 4-point lead.

Wesley responded and were nearly over for a try in the corner only to be called back for accidental offside. Then, just on the hour mark a midfield break had the Wesley defence on the back foot and Belvo were in again for a try.  With the conversion they led by 11 points.  With full time approaching a penalty quickly taken by Keith Kavanagh saw him sprinting from inside his own half to the opposition 22.  The ball was recycled after the tackle and after some strong carries Eoin Deegan crossed for a try in the corner. Monahan, who had a 100% kicking record on the day, again converted the difficult conversion to make it a four-point game. This led to a lively finish with Wesley throwing everything they could at the opposition.  However there were no further scores and the game finished with a win for the visitors.

Still 5th in the league, Old Wesley are clinging on to the hope of a top 4 play-off spot.  The winner of next week’s match against 4th place Highfield is likely to decide that.

Scorers:  Nathan Randles, try; Howard Noonan, try; Eoin Deegan, try; Eoin Monahan, try, 4 cons; Ian Cassidy, pen.

Team: Alex Molloy, Nathan Randles, Eoin Deegan, James O’Donovan, Tommy O’Callaghan, Ian Cassidy, Keith Kavanagh, Harry Noonan, Howard Noonan, Cronan Gleeson, David Motyer, Iain McGann (capt), Sam Pim, Will Fay, Reuben Pim. Replacements: Finn Tierney, Sam Kenny, Dom Maclean, Josh O’Hare, Eoin Monahan, David Poff.

Click here for photos by Ken Richardson

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