All Ireland League – St. Mary’s 21 Old Wesley 30
In a closely fought match Old Wesley made it four wins on the trot with a victory over St. Mary’s at Templeville Road.
For the first five minutes play stayed between the two 10 metre lines as both sides looked to settle in. Then, a break by the elusive Alex Molloy set the crowd alight. Taking a pass just inside the opposition half he went on one of his now trade mark runs, weaving and at times turning defenders inside out, to score under the posts. Josh Miller converted with ease for an early lead.
Play continued with nothing between the sides until with 20 minutes on the clock a run down the left wing looked like it might lead to a St. Mary’s try. This was followed by a penalty kick to touch inside the Wesley 22. But the Wesley defence held firm and a knock on eventually lifted the threat. Two penalties conceded by Marys earned Wesley good territory. The latter, from 30 metres, was kicked by Miller extending the lead to 10 nil. Five minutes later it was the opposition’s turn to do the attacking. This was compounded by a deliberate knock on and a yellow card for Eoin Deegan. The penalty was kickable but Marys opted for touch, and from the ensuing line out and drive they crossed for their first try, scored by Stephen O’Brien and converted by Michael O’Gara. Half time score 10-7 to Old Wesley.
Although still down to 14 players Old Wesley’s start to the second half was lively. However, despite making some good carries they were unable to make any inroads. But this ended with a Mary’s penalty which they kicked to earn a 7-metre touch. And similar to their first try they mauled the Wesley pack over the line for a try by Thomas O’Reilly, again converted by O’Gara. And for the first time in the game Wesley were trailing on the scoreboard. Miller pulled 3 points back with a penalty kick shortly after the restart, but at this stage it looked like the home side would start to take over. However, they failed to do so. Seven minutes later, and now back to 15, a neat pick up by Eoin Deegan saw him charge towards the line. He was stopped short but Marys conceded a penalty in front of the posts which substitute out-half, Ian Cassidy, converted and Wesley were back in the lead 16-14.
The Wesley back line was now starting to show their authority and a run by David Poff brought play up to the opposition 5 metre line. From recycled possession a neat chip by Cassidy was caught on the run by Tommy O’Callaghan who crossed for a try. Cassidy struck the kick perfectly to make it a two-score game in Old Wesley’s favour. Indeed another O’Callaghan jinking run looked like it might lead to another try, but unfortunately the pass was not held. With the game now in its final quarter Wesley were again in the scoring zone with a 5-metre line out. Taking clean line out possession they pounded the opposition line with some big carries by the forwards, resulting in a try by Harry Noonan, converted by Cassidy.
But St. Mary’s responded immediately and two minutes later their pack had Wesley in trouble again, driving over for a try by Jack Reidy Walsh, converted by O’Gara. However Wesley soon got back on the rails and three minutes later, following a kick through, they had a penalty inside the Mary’s 22. In search of a bonus point try they kicked to touch and from the ensuing line out bundled over the line. But the ball was held up and Marys were able to relieve the pressure. Both sides, each with bonus point hopes and opportunities, made late rallies but there were no further scores and the match finished 30-21 to Old Wesley.
With three converted each it was Wesley’s three penalty goals that won on the day. In fact, both side’s goal kickers must be complimented with a 100% success result each.
Amazingly neither side moved up or down the league table, but Old Wesley are still lying in a strong 5th with just one point separating 3rd to 5th place teams.
Scorers: Alex Molloy, try; Tommy O’Callaghan, try; Harry Noonan, try; Josh Miller, con, 2 pens; Ian Cassidy, 2 cons, pen.
Team: Alex Molloy, Nathan Randles, David Poff, Eoin Deegan, Tommy O’Callaghan, Josh Miller, Keith Kavanagh, Harry Noonan, Howard Noonan, Cronan Gleeson, David Motyer, Iain McGann (capt), Sam Pim, Will Fay, Reuben Pim.
Replacements: Dom McClean, Sam Kenny, Brian Short, Josh O’Hare, Ian Cassidy, Eoin Monahan.