All Ireland League – Old Wesley 36 Blackrock 22
In round 7 of the All Ireland League Old Wesley returned to winning ways delivering a bonus point win over Blackrock, in front of a good crowd at Donnybrook on Saturday. In dry conditions, after a morning of heavy showers and with little or no wind, this game promised to be an open affair between two team that like to play open running rugby and the crowd were not disappointed with 58pts being scored which included 7 tries.
The game started with Wesley playing at a high tempo and applying pressure which lead to an early penalty with just two minutes on the clock, Barry McLaughlin duly slotted over to put Wesley into the lead. However, Blackrock were on the scoreboard soon after when they were awarded a penalty, which was taken by fullback Alan Hughes which brought the sides level after just 5 minutes. Wesley again went on the attack but after a period of scrappy play Rock won a turnover on their 22 metre line and moved the ball to their impressive centre Sean Coughlan who made a lovely break to put his centre partner Hugo Godson Tracy clear to run in from half way for a fine try. The vocal crowd then brought the referees attention to a flag being held out by the Touch Judge for foul play back on the Blackrock 22meter line. However, after a long discussion between the Referee and his Touch Judge it was decided that the try would stand. Dave Scott Lennon failed with the conversion.
After 23 minutes Old Wesley received a blow when their industrious No.8 Darren Horan was forced to leave the field and was replaced by young Second Row Mark Robinson, who was making his AIL debut. Robinson took up his normal position in the second row with Josh Hinde moving to No.8. Almost immediately Wesley went on the attack and were awarded a penalty just inside the Rock half and again McLaughlin kicked the ball between the posts to leave the score 6-8 after some 25 minutes. Then in the next passage of play Josh Hinde took a clean lineout and drove forward and presented clean ruck ball, which was transferred quickly to Garry O’Brien. Garry made a lovely break and then offloaded to the supporting Dave Rowley who broke two tackles to run in and touchdown for an excellent try close to the posts. McLaughlin again converted to leave the score 13 – 8.
As half-time approached Wesley gave away a penalty for holding on in the ruck. Dave Scott Lennon hit the upright which rebounded into Rock hands and after a couple of phases Sean Coughlan went over for a try which was converted by Dave Scott Lennon. In the dying moments of the half and with the Wesley scrum becoming more and more dominant, Rock were penalised and again McLaughlin obliged to bring the score to 16-15 to the home side at the interval.
After a somewhat scrappy start to the second half the Wesley pack, with Josh Hinde, adapting well to the No. 8 position and having a fine game and ably assisted by Rory Kerins and Martin Gately, won a turnover and Cassidy went blind giving the ball to Large who fed Ngawini who totally confused the Rock defence before passing back to Large who put in a grubber kick. In the ensuing ruck Rock were penalised for holding on and McLaughlin converted to stretch the lead to 19-15. Wesley again soaked up some pressure and Blackrock were beginning to win ball and run at the Wesley defence. However, Wesley stood firm and put pressure on the opposition attack, which lead to an intercept by Alan Large who ran from inside his own half to score close in and again McLaughlin was successful with the conversion.
With Wesley now leading 26-15 and their scrum becoming even more dominant Kenny Knaggs was introduced after 50mins to join Craig Telford, who had replaced Dave Rowley at the interval and Dave Henshaw in the front row. With some fine tackling Wesley again forced a penalty and after some backchat from Rock, the Referee penalised them ten meters. Instead of going for the posts Wesley decide to go for the corner and following pressure they won a scrum close to the line. Stephen Boyle broke form the scrum before finding the impressive Mark Robinson on his inside who managed to burrow his way over for Wesley’s third try of the afternoon. Again to their credit Rock never gave up and after some good play by both backs and forwards, in particular their impressive scrum half Billy Glynn who had a fine game throughout, they scored a try with Joe Scott Lennon going over close to the touchline. Scott Lennon duly added the points with a fine conversion.
The score now was 31-22 with 10 minutes to go and the result still not assured. Blackrock came back again and Knaggs was penalised for a no arms tackle. However the Wesley pack reacted well and won some good possession for the backs who ran the ball in search of the all important fourth try. Following a high tackle, Wesley were awarded a penalty and again went for the corner. From the resulting lineout the ball was transferred swiftly across the backline for McLaughlin to squeeze in in the corner to bring his tally for the afternoon to 21 points. Barry has now scored 103 points in just 7 AIL games this season. His try brought an end to the scoring and saw Wesley triumph by 36 points to 22
This was a well deserved win and brings Old Wesley to a three week break in the league in third place before we meet our old friends St Mary’s for the first time this century in the AIL. It promises to be a great occasion at Templeville Road on the 28th November, so put it in your diary and give your support which is very much appreciated by the Players, Coaches and Management team.
Old Wesley team: Rory Stynes, Barry McLaughlin, Conor Fitzgibbon, Garry O’Brien, Billy Ngawini, Alan Large, Ian Cassidy [Capt], Davy Henshaw, David Rowley, Martin Gately, Josh Hinde, Iain McGann, Stephen Boyle, Rory Kerins, Darren Horan. Subs: Craig Telford, Kenny Knaggs, Mark Robinson, Adam Kennedy, Ger Finucane,
Old Wesley scorers: David Rowley, try; Alan Large, try; Mark Robinson, try; Barry McLaughlin, try, 2 cons, 4 pens.
Match photos By Deryck Vincent. Deryck played AIL Division 1 Rugby for Old Wesley during the 1990s. For more photos see below on facebook or on his flicker site.