All Ireland League – Old Wesley 22 Corinthians 24
Weather and pitch conditions in parts of the country may have caused many matches to be cancelled, but in Galway, whilst the weather was cold and breezy, the pitch was perfect.
For the opening quarter of this match it was very much honours even as both teams tried to gain a foothold on the game. There were a number of good breaks but equally a large number of handling errors probably not helped by the cold conditions, and neither side looked like they might seriously threaten the line. However the Galway men eventually struck when their mobile back line outstretched the Wesley defence to score under the posts. A well struck penalty into the wind by Barry McLoughlin opened the Old Wesley account bringing the score to 3-7. As half time approached Corinthians were awarded a penalty 35 meters out in front of the posts. Strangely, despite the wind advantage, they opted to kick for touch. Wesley looked to have saved the day when they turned over the ensuing line out possession but they were unable to break free. Corinthians regained possession and crossed for their second try leaving the half time score 3-12.
The first ten minutes of the second half was dominated by Corinthians as Old Wesley struggled to live with their pace. The Galway men were rewarded after just 5 minutes with a converted try following a sustained period of back play. Now with their tails in the air another try looked imminent, and it was as they crossed for their bonus point try bringing the score to 3-24.
Old Wesley eventually broke the trend when a series of penalties yielded a line out on the opposition 5 meter line. The pack secured possession and Darren Horan, aided by the rest of the pack, drove over for a much need try which was converted by McLoughlin. This spurred on the Wesley side. A great steal by Ben Horan saw the ball pass through a number of hands and it was Colin Wallace who crossed for the second try. McLoughlin missed the difficult conversion that would have made it a one score game, but with the score at 15-24 it had much more respectable look about it.
With 15 minutes to go both sides were looking for more scores and as both teams ran everything there were some long and entertaining phases of play. As full time approached Corinthians looked like they were over but solid defence denied them another score. Then with time up Old Wesley were awarded a penalty inside their own half. What ensued was a full seven minutes of play, interrupted by two further penalties against Corinthians. Wesley’s patience and great handling eventually paid off as Kenny Knaggs ploughed over for a very valuable try in the corner. McLoughlin kicked the difficult conversion.
All in all not a bad result against a team that are joint league leaders and chasing promotion. Old Wesley must also be complimented for their much improved discipline as they conceded just one penalty in the whole match, compared to 14 conceded by the opposition.
Old Wesley scorers: Darren Horan, Colin Wallace, Kenny Knaggs, try each: Barry McLoughlin, 2 cons, pen.
Team: – Rory Stynes, Barry McLaughlin, David Potterton, Kieran Hurrell, Richie Jermyn, Alan Large, Ian Cassidy, James Burton, Darren Horan, David Henshaw, Richie Morrow (Capt), Ian McGann, Thomas Ratahi, Ben Horan, Colin Wallace. Subs Kenny Knaggs, Gavin Telford, Greg Leader, Stephen Boyle, Eoin Fitzpatrick.