All Ireland League – Old Wesley 13 UL Bohemian 7
A try by Jack Maybury helped Old Wesley to a 13 nil half time lead against UL Bohemian in Limerick. The opposition scored a try in the second half leading to a tense and hard fought victory, however the Wesley defence put in a fine performance to help claim the win. Here is the full story…
On a cold, windy and extremely wet afternoon at the open expanse that is the University of Limerick Sportsgrounds, Old Wesley and UL Bohs took to the All Weather pitch for this vital clash for both sides in Division 1B of the All Ireland League. The weather was so bad that the use of a pen and paper was totally out of the question, so please forgive any inaccuracies.
By the time many of the Supporters had donned the necessary wet gear for the appalling conditions and were making their way through the carpark to the pitch, Old Wesley, who were playing with the wind and the rain, had already scored. It was following the opening exchanges that the ball came back on the Wesley side and was transferred quickly to Maybury on the right wing inside his own half. He put in an excellent kick deep into the Bohemian 22 and as the cover went down on the ball it squirted back over the line for Maybury, who was following up, to touch down for the opening score of the game. The same player slotted the conversion from far out and Old Wesley led by 7pts to nil with only two minutes on the clock.
From the restart Old Wesley continued to take the game to UL Bohs and with Clifford, who was receiving an excellent service from the passing of Atkinson, using the wind well with some excellent kicking to keep the opposition pinned in there one half for a large part of the first half. Midway through the first half, Wesley were awarded a penalty just inside the opposition half and almost in-front of the posts, which Maybury struck well but when it seemed that it would fall just short, it actually crept over the bar to extend Wesley’s lead to 10 pts.
The home side to their credit continued to try and run the ball but the Wesley defence stood firm and when they took to the boot, Stynes as usual, fielded everything thrown at him and returned it with interest. The only major scare was towards the end of the opening half when ULBohs did finally breach the Wesley defence only for the player to slip when it looked as if he was heading for the line. Just before the interval Maybury slotted another penalty from close in to bring the score at halftime to 13 – nil.
The Limerick men, now playing with the elements, started the second half at a great pace. They initially ran at the Wesley defence but found no way through. Their outhalf then decided to put the ball up high in the air and use the conditions to put the pressure on. But Stynes, as he has done so often over the years, stood firm and fielded everything thrown at him. Indeed the back three were excellent under the high ball. It is during this period that Wesley were reduced to 14 men when Maguire was binned for what was deemed a dangerous tackle.
As the half went on and UL Bohs got within sight of the Wesley 22 they began to maul their way towards the line but time after time the Wesley pack were able to repel their pack and on many occasions push them back. UL Bohs then gave the ball to their backs who ran hard at the Wesley defence only to meet a backline that were determined to let nothing through. However, twenty two minutes into the half and as a result of a rolling maul ULBohs finally went over for their only score of the game. From the restart they came back again and used the elements to keep Wesley pinned back deep in their half. However, Wesley were equal to whatever was thrown at them and even though the opposition pack had a weight advantage Wesley pushed them back in the scrum on a number of occasions.
With the small number of Wesley supporters that made the trip getting more and more vocal in their support of this great rear guard action, the players responded with determination and grit to ensure that UL Bohs did not score again. It is worth mentioning the heroic defence of the three quarter line of O’Callaghan, O’Donovan, Poff and Maybury. The tackling of the forwards where Maguire, Murphy, O’Dea, Bursey, Boyle and Horan never stopped tackling and driving and indeed got better as the game went on. Our two prop forward Gleeson and Burton were terrific in the scrums against a large, well drilled pack. When our subs of Fitzgerald, Barry and Telford were introduced they too slotted in seamlessly.
It is worth recording that Jack Maybury scored all 13pts bringing his tally for the last three games to 54pts which includes four tries.
When the final whistle went the small contingent of Wesley supporters, who were soaked to the skin at this stage, stayed out and waited for the team to leave the pitch after their customary huddle, and cheered them all the way to the Clubhouse.
They say that defence wins matches and this was the absolute testimony of this.
Well done lads it was worth the trip.
Old Wesley: Try: Jack Maybury; Con: Jack Maybury; Pens: Jack Maybury 2
OLD WESLEY: Rory Stynes; Jack Maybury, James O’Donovan, David Poff, Tommy O’Callaghan; Tim Clifford, Aaron Atkinson; Cronin Gleeson, Conor Maguire, James Burton, Kieran Murphy, JJ O’Dea, Darren Horan (capt), Stephen Boyle, Matthew Bursey.
Replacements: Craig Telford, Martin Gately, John Fitzgerald, Conor Barry, Cillian Monahan.
On a sad note, when we arrived in UL Bohemian we were informed that Jack Hennessy, father of their President Paul had passed away recently and was buried earlier in the week. Paul is the brother of Stephen Hennessy who played fullback for Old Wesley for a number of years in the late 70s and early 80s. Jack was a regular and popular visitor to Old Wesley where he had many friends.