The Stones keep Rolling to win the Purcell Cup

The Stones keep Rolling to win the Purcell Cup

Purcell Cup Final – Old Wesley 9 Greystones 20 – 21st April 2024

So the epic turnabout in fortunes for this season’s u20s did not produce the fairytale ending, but ended in defeat to Greystones in the Purcell Cup Final held on a glorious sunny day in Energia Park. With both teams at full strength and in the unfamiliar setting of changing in the neutral surrounds of the Bective Club house, the match got under way with a very impressive crowd who had come out to support.

Greystones had the better of the initial exchanges and despite a penalty kick to the corner for Old Wesley, the ensuing lineout in the 22 didn’t find its mark and Greystones cleared their lines.  Greystones settled into the game a lot more quickly than Wesley and there were a number of unforced errors from the home side that stopped any real continuity of play. Credit also to Stones who also played their game right on the offside line and gave our halfbacks no time to settle on the ball thus hampering any momentum.

Another chance on 17 minutes into the far corner again saw the lineout not secured, which has been firing very well since the Ryan Baird clinics before Christmas; Greystones off the hook again. Finally on 22 minutes and at the next time of asking Jonny Cazzini bisected the posts and we took the lead 3-0. However from the restart and an excellent kick off, Greystones gathered the ball and scored a try in the Wesley end with the Greystones #10 adding the conversion.  We were on the back foot 3-7.

Just after 30 minutes and an early enforced sub to Josh Meade who took a knock to his hip, Saul Nicholson came on to add some more bulk into the engine room. Following a great break by Louis Perrem and Matt Golden, and a failure to execute over the line, the Wesley team were awarded a penalty which Cazzini scored and we moved to within a point of the visitors, 6-7.

As the 2nd half began, both sides were cancelling each other out in between the two 22s and Wesley brought on subs Mannie Apkin and Chris O’Leary to replace the hard working pair of James Noonan and Harry Simpson.  Greystones were guilty of another offside offence on 20 minutes in the 2nd half and the home side took the lead for the second and went 9-7 ahead, mid way through the half.

An injury saw Gavin Courage come off and Tom Kavanagh come on shortly afterwards as Greystones regained the lead with a penalty 9-10. As the bench was off loaded, Jonny Cazzini missed a crucial penalty on 30 minutes to go 12-10 ahead and following that Ben Barrett, Josh Meade, James Noonan all entered the play with Warren MacWilliam, Ryan Jones and Saul Nicholson all taking a rest at this point.  Greystones, after making some changes off their bench, scored a very well taken try starting in their own half and finished off in style, and the score moved to 9-15.  The final substitutions we made with Elliott Atkinson and Stephen Kelly both getting on and Luca Clinton and Apkin all coming off.

The final act of the game saw Greystones score a third try (again without the conversion) and the final score moved to 9-20 and the Purcell Cup being won by the visitors for the first time in their history.

So the fairytale ending to the season just alluded the team and also the departing Head Coach Ian Dumbleton, who is taking a well earned break from the u20s to recharge his batteries after 2 very tough seasons in Prem 1 of the JP Fanagan league.  Thanks to Dumbo, all of the players and coaches and back room team for another valiant effort all season. We will pause for a couple of weeks and then regroup as we plan our road ahead with the incoming head coach Rory Stynes about to start his era at the helm.

Finally thanks to all the support we have had all season and at the final; it is very much appreciated.

Click here for photos by Ken Richardson

 

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