JP Fanagan – Premier 2. Old Wesley v Old Belvedere , 17th October 2017.
Following their impressive home victory against Skerries, our Under 20s powered past a highly-regarded Old Belvedere outfit in fine style tonight. Setting the tone straight from the kick-off, the lads immediately put Belvo under pressure with strong running and link-play between the backs and their pack. Somewhat against the run of play on 6 minutes, Belvo broke up-field for a breakaway try which proved to be their only score of the first half. Wesley struck back immediately, and the forwards broke Belvo’s resistance on 12 minutes when the pack put fit-again centre Darragh Foster over for a great try. It was all Wesley from there and on 26 minutes, Andrew Egan crossed the line from the back of a superb line-out maul. Proving this power play from the pack was no fluke, Andrew crossed the line yet again 3 minutes later from an identical maul. Wesley were rampant at this stage, our boys really mixing it up with the half-backs distributing beautifully to an in-form back-line. Our hard-working pack provided a strong platform in both loose play and set pieces, punching holes in a physical Belvo defence. By 37 minutes we had secured the try bonus point with a great backs and forwards move finished by Stuart Dudley to make it 35-20 at the break. Breathless stuff!
Wesley began the second half with real intent, containing the expected backlash from Belvo after the break. In what turned out to be a great 40 minutes of high-tempo attacking rugby, both sides ran the ball at every opportunity. On 47 minutes, some slick back and over passing led to a super try from Bill Corrigan. This seemed to spur Belvo into action, who began to impose their gameplan. Wesley also lost their shape somewhat with the loss of three players to injury and the introduction of the full bench. Between the 54th and 73rd minute, Belvo’s powerful pack went over for three tries. That’s when our lads showed their true mettle. Josh Miller steadied the nerves with two fine penalties as the clock ticked down and with just minutes to go, Wesley’s young tryos could sniff a killer score to put the icing on the cake. Defending like their lives depended on it, a superb clearance from our own 22 was chased at full tilt by Luke Sweeney who fearlessly plucked it from the sky without breaking stride and ran a full 70 metres to touch down. A joyous home crowd cheered at the final whistle as the game finished 44-24. Scoring 76 points in the last two games sums up the attacking style of this incredibly talented young squad who once again are proving they can mix it with the best in Leinster.
Squad: Shane O’Hanrahan, Daniel Gilmer, Bill Corrigan, Darragh Foster, Sean Ballance, Joshua Miller, Scott Levie, Andrew Egan, Jordan Laybourne (Capt), Sam Kenny, Luke Corish, Lloyd Stephens, Stuart Dudley, Glen Dudley, David Boles, Andrew Irwin, Dylan O’Regan, Gavin Parr, David Motyer, Douglas Burns, Philip Deane, Luke Sweeney.