Seniors toppled after Belvo loss
All Ireland League – Old Wesley 24 Old Belvedere 30
Before most of the pre-match lunch guests had their coats on Old Belvedere were 7 points up after an intercept by Jack Keating earned them a try under the posts. After the early dust had settled Old Wesley eventually got a footing in the opposition 22 with a couple of line outs. But the first line out was lost and the second came to nothing after a knock on. Rory Stynes eventually got Wesley on the scoreboard with a well struck penalty goal after 15 minutes. Wesley continued to make some promising visits to the Belvo 22, but on more than one occasion were denied scoring opportunities due to handling errors, penalties conceded and turnovers. Belvedere extended their lead with a Steve Crosby penalty kick then 5 minutes before half time their mobile back line out stretched the Wesley defence allowing Joe White to score in the corner. Wesley had a late chance to reduce the lead, firstly getting over the line following a penalty and line out, only for the ball to be deemed held up. Then from the 5 metre scrum only to be denied by an intercept which ended the attack leaving the score 15-3 to the home side at half time
The second half started much brighter for Old Wesley with an attack down the left wing. After some good handling JJ O’Dea crossed for Wesley’s first try of the match, well converted by Stynes. But soon after, Belvo regained the initiative. They looked to be over on the right wing only to be called back for a foot in touch. But Wesley again lost the line out allowing Eoin O’Neill to cross virtually untouched for a try. Wesley had some chances to score but they came to nothing. Then just after the hour mark and from a scrum and a rehearsed move Peter O’Beirne crossed under the posts for the home side, and it looked like game over. However Wesley were not giving up and launched an immediate response. A quickly taken penalty by Charlie O’Regan and some good hands had Belvo on the back foot. Substitute Lachy Anderson received the final pass and, still with some work to do, snuck in in the corner for a try. Josh Miller slotted the difficult conversion to rekindle Wesley’s hopes of a win.
With 6 minutes to go Belvo extended their lead to 13 points with a penalty goal, but shortly after their winger Jack Keating was yellow carded for not releasing. From the ensuing penalty Wesley kicked down the line. And from a second penalty Paul Harte took a quick tap eventually leading to a try by Conor Maguire. With the gap 8 points Miller again did the needful kicking the conversion for a losers bonus point. Now in injury time and with renewed enthusiasm Wesley threw everything at the opposition. Another attack down the left wing had their supporters on the edge of their seats, but the final pass did not go to hand. And soon after the referee blew for full time.
The result leaves Old Wesley in second place on the league table 3 points behind Ballynahinch. Next week it’s the final match of the campaign against Armagh. The coaching team will be looking at all the permutations but at the end of the day we must win, and rely on Ballynahinch losing to St. Mary’s. Roll on Saturday.
OLD WESLEY SCORERS – JJ O’Dea, try; Lachlan Anderson, try; Conor Maguire, try; Rory Stynes, con, pen; Josh Miller, 2 cons.
TEAM – Rory Stynes, Tommy O’Callaghan, David Poff, Alan Gaughan, Paul Harte (captain), Josh Miller, Charlie O’Regan, Ciaran McHugh., Ben Burns, Cronan Gleeson, Iain McGann, JJ O’Dea, Paul Derham, Ciaran Barry, Mark Rowley. REPLACEMENTS – Craig Telford, Conor Maguire, Donnchadh Phelan, Lachlan Anderson, Alan Jeffares.