All Ireland League – Old Wesley 15 UL Bohemian 17
The mid season break over, Old Wesley was eager to put recent disappointing results behind them with a much needed win. And for the first quarter of this match it looked as though they would do so in style. However, as with recent matches they lost their way in the final quarter allowing the opposition to claim the victory.
Played in cold but dry conditions Wesley had a dream start when winger Thomas O’Callaghan dotted down in the corner in the first play of the game. Flanker Conor Barry had made a fine break bringing play into the opposition 22, before it was recycled resulting in the try. O’Callaghan was on hand again a few minutes later when he finished off a neat run down the wing by Eoghan O’Reilly, to score his second try, mid way between the posts and the corner flag. Adam Kennedy converted to make it 12 nil to the home side virtually before the opposition had a chance to touch the ball. Wesley continued to look by far the better side even forcing a penalty in the first scrum of the match. Despite what appeared to be an obvious knock on UL Bohemian eventually got close to the Wesley try line only to be penalised for a high tackle.
After two unsuccessful attempts the Limerick side eventually got on the scoreboard after 30 minutes with a penalty goal. Then O’Callaghan looked like he might have been on the score sheet again but was denied a try by a pass into touch by the visitors; an infringement that earned their full back James McCarthy a yellow card; but no penalty try. Wesley opted for a scrum from the resulting penalty; however this time it was Bohemian who forced the penalty to relieve the pressure, just before half time.
The second half started with both sides guilty of handling errors. Kennedy had a chance to extend the lead with a long range penalty kick but was wide of the mark. A kick ahead by Rory Stynes had the opposition in some trouble. After a bit of a comedy of errors Wesley were nearly over again but the players were beaten to the touchdown by the dead ball line.
Now approaching the final quarter the Munster men were starting to gain the upper hand. A defence mix up allowed Bohs to get into the Wesley 22. After a number of attacks a try looked imminent, however the referee spotted some obstruction by the visitors allowing Wesley to relieve the siege. There was also a yellow card for Bohs number 4 Dara Frawley. However, despite being down a man, a penalty kick to the corner and some strong line out pressure eventually resulted in their first try. Now in sight of a win Bohs ran the ball straight from the kick off, and a kick ahead brought play back into the 22, putting Wesley under pressure once again. Wesley looked to have escaped when a maul was held up and they were awarded a scrum. However the Limerick men kept attacking and with just 5 minutes remaining, and following some strong carries, Frawley got over for a try to avenge his earlier punishment. The try was converted and for the first time in the match UL Bohemian were in the lead. Then dramatically Wesley were thrown a lifeline with a penalty 35 metres out in front of the posts. In the last play of the game Tim Clifford stepped up for his first place kick of the match, but pushed the ball well wide of the posts before the referee blew the final whistle.
Disappointingly this was the 4th match in the row that Old Wesley conceded victory in the final minutes after leading for much of the match. There is now a three week break before the next match, away to 3rd placed Banbridge.
OLD WESLEY TEAM – Rory Stynes, Eoghan O’Reilly, Paul Harte, David Poff, Thomas O’Callaghan, Tim Clifford, Adam Kennedy, David Henshaw, Conor Maguire, James Burton, JJ O’Dea, Mark Robinson, Darren Horan (capt), Conor Barry, John Fitzgerald. Replacements – Gavin Telford, Padraig Cullen, Kieran Murphy, Matthew Bursey, Craig Miller.
SCORERS—Thomas O’Callaghan 2 tries; Adam Kennedy, 1 con, 1 pen.