Played in perfect conditions Old Wesley maintained their unbeaten home record with a comprehensive bonus point win over Limerick side Bruff. From the start it was obvious that Bruff had the slightly better pack but Old Wesley had the superior back line. In the opening phases the Limerick side utilised their forwards in gaining advantage however once the Wesley back line gained possession they counterattacked, regularly breaking the gain line.
Barry McLoughlin got Wesley off the mark with a 30 meter penalty goal after 8 minutes following a fine break by Kieran Hurrell. And 2 minutes later he was on target again this time from 45 meters. However next it was the visitors’ turn as Declan Bannon kicked their first penalty. On 20 minutes Bannon struck again, this time with a long range effort that crept over after hitting the crossbar to bring the two sides level at 6 all.
A break by Richie Jermyn, who caused headaches for the opposition all afternoon, brought play into the Bruff half. He fed to Rory Stynes, who transferred to Iain McGann who sprinted 20 meters to score the game’s first try. McLaughlin, who kicked magnificently all day, converted from the touchline. Bruff responded with a penalty kick following a Wesley scrum infringement and had an opportunity to narrow the gap again just before half time but this time they were short with the kick, leaving the half time score 16-9 to Old Wesley.
Spectators would have been forgiven for thinking that this was going to be a hard fought low scoring game, but what followed was one of the finest second half performances of an Old Wesley back line seen for many a year. McLaughlin was on target again with a 40 meter penalty kick straight from the kick off and again from a similar position 5 minutes later. Indeed the Bruff team will be disappointed with the large number of penalties they conceded in the match. Then a brilliant solo run by Eoin Stynes , which he started on the half way line and weaved his way through the defence led to Wesley’s second try. At 29-9 the game was out of sight for the visitors and the well oiled Wesley back line was rampant. Approaching the final quarter Wesley opted to go down the line with a penalty kick inside the Bruff 22. Then from a quick line out, hooker Craig Telford drove over for Wesley’s third try. A bonus point was now in sight and it didn’t take long to come. A break by Rory Stynes saw the ball transferred to McGann then to Steven Harvey who outpaced his opposite number for the fourth try.
With five minutes to go Bruff eventually crossed for a converted try however Old Wesley were not finished. A break by Jermyn again brought play into the opposition 22 where he passed to Eoin Stynes who crossed for his second try. And virtually straight from the kick off and in the last play of the game substitute Conor Lavelle took a pass and found himself in the clear where he sprinted 40 meters to score under the posts.
Bruff may not be the strongest team in the league, but this was a fine performance by Old Wesley which promotes them from 11th to 6th in the league.
Team: Eoin Stynes, Barry McLaughlin, Steven Harvey, Kieran Hurrell, Richie Jermyn, Rory Stynes, Ian Cassidy, Davy Henshaw, Craig Telford, Kenny Knaggs (capt),Iain McGann, Richie Morrow, Darren Horan, Thomas Ratahi, Stephen Boyle. Subs: James Burton, Kevin Becker Paul McCarroll, Ian Slattery, Conor Lavelle
Old Wesley scorers: Eoin Stynes, 2 tries. Iain McGann, Craig Telford, Steven Harvey, Conor Lavelle, try each. Barry McLaughlin,6 cons, 5 pens