Seniors lose to Mary’s despite late surge

Seniors lose to Mary’s despite late surge

AIL  St. Mary’s 34 Old Wesley 29  –  30th March 2024

To a neutral spectator this was a highly entertaining match with nine tries and a dramatic finish.  For both sets of supporters it was a needle match with a nervous ending.

St. Mary’s had the better of the opening exchanges and were first on the scoreboard with a 47-metre penalty goal after 5 minutes.  They followed it up minutes later with a push over try from a maul off a line out penalty to take an 8-nil lead.  Old Wesley got off the mark after Billy Corrigan found himself in the clear.  He passed to Alex Molloy who ran and dodged 35 metres to touch down under the posts.  Ian Cassidy converted.  But St. Mary’s responded quickly.  Their pack, which was now causing headaches for their opposition, drove nearly 10 metres to ground for a converted try.  Again on 30-minutes it was the turn of the Mary’s pack when they struck once again with a try from a line out maul.

Wesley needed to respond quickly, which they did.  From a 10-metre line out they won clean ball.  The pass went out the line and once again found Molloy who found a gap to cross for his second try.  Cassidy converted.  But the comeback was short lived.  2-minutes later a neat chip through found the Wesley defence on the back foot and the ball was grounded by St. Mary’s for their bonus point try.  Half time score St. Marys 27 Old Wesley 14.

If the first half belonged to St. Marys, Old Wesley looked the better side in the second half with their back line asking questions of the opposition.  6-minutes in Old Wesley kicked a penalty to claim a line out 10 metres from the Mary’s line. A clean take and the ball went out the line to who else but Alex Molloy who found a gap and waltzed in for his third try.  5-minutes later Wesley were again in the opposition 22 but unfortunately this time lost the line out.  Wesley continued their positive attacking.  They were awarded a penalty 30-metres out in front of the posts.  They turned down the opportunity to take the points and opted to kick for touch.  The gamble paid off and after some powerful forward carries, scrum half Ben Stephens pounced for Wesley’s bonus point try.  Cassidy’s conversion rebounded off the upright.

St. Marys responded straight from the kick off and the Wesley defence had to work hard, but their attack broke down after a crooked line out throw.  One point down Wesley were awarded a penalty 30-metres out in front of the posts.  Cassidy stepped up and split the posts and for the first time in the match Old Wesley led 29-27.  But Wesley’s joy was short lived when 2-minutes later Mary’s crossed for their one and only score of the second half.  With 3 minutes to go Wesley threw everything at the opposition.  St. Marys conceded a penalty.  With 3-points of no benefit Wesley kicked to touch.  From the line out there were some huge carries but it finished when a knock on ended their attack.

Despite losing Old Wesley earned 2 valuable league point and in doing so qualify for the promotion play off.  It is just a case of against who. There are lots of permutations but any kind of win next week against Queens University will guarantee a home semi-final.

Click here for photos by Ken Richardson

Click here for match highlights

TEAM: Nathan Randles; Eoin Murphy, Alex Molloy, Eoin Deegan, Fergus Jemphrey; Ian Cassidy, Ben Stephens, Harry Noonan, Stephen Smyth, Cronan Gleeson, Billy Corrigan, Reuben Pim (capt), Cathal Kelly, Josh Pim, Will Fay. Replacements: Howard Noonan, Sam Kenny, Sam Pim, David Motyer, Bill Corrigan, Keith Kavanagh.

SCORERS: Tries: Alex Molloy 3, Ben Stephens; Cons: Ian Cassidy 3; Pen: Ian Cassidy

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