All Ireland League – Old Wesley 34 Dolphin 5
In the All Ireland League Old Wesley put Cork visitors Dolphin to the sword in a much needed bonus point win. Wesley led from start to finish and apart from a short spell in the second half dominated the encounter. There were tries from Eoghan O’Reilly, Tom O’Callaghan, Tim Clifford and two from Jack Maybury. Maybury also kicked the goals with a personal tally of 19 points.
Played on a fine crisp Autumn day this game had a lively start with an opening play that lasted a tiring two and a half minutes. Wesley had the first scoring opportunity with a line out 5 metres out, however they conceded a penalty to allow Dolphin relieve the pressure. But there were already early signs that Wesley were going to take charge as they capitalised on a number of opposition errors. Prepared to run everything, after 10 minutes a break in his own half by David Poff was carried on by Eoghan O’Reilly and in turn Jack Maybury who sprinted to the corner for the first try of the match. The home side soon had another line out near the opposition line but this time Dolphin were able to steal possession. Just on the half hour Darren Horan was just short of the line with a strong physical attack. The ball was quickly recycled and Eoghan O’Reilly had an easy run in for try number 2.
Wesley were now brimming with confidence and right from the restart JJ O’Dea made a strong dart for the line only to lose possession in the tackle. Just approaching half time a loose ball was snapped up by Tim Clifford who only had to stroll in unopposed for try number three. Maybury converted to give Old Wesley a healthy 17 nil lead at half time.
Wesley started the second half where they left off. Donnchadh Phelan and Cronan Gleeson in particular were causing all sorts of problems for the opposition in the loose as well as the set pieces. After 5 minutes a long range penalty attempt by Maybury split the posts. The visitors eventually got their ship in order and Wesley had to dig deep to survive a series of penalties and line outs before a great ruck turn over stemmed the flow. But a yellow card for Conor Maguire for a line out infringement gave the Corkmen some added pep eventually resulting in a try by Ian O’Donoghue. Dolphin continued to look threatening but crucially did not find touch from a penalty that would have given them another strong attacking platform.
Leading by example Old Wesley captain Darren Horan made a strong break to restore team confidence. Now back to 15 players a Wesley attack down the left wing seemed to end with the ball going into touch. But some quick thinking and a quick line out saw Maybury on the score sheet again with an opportunist try. He converted his own try and now leading 27-5 the result was no longer in doubt. Dolphin refused to give up but were unable to dent the secure Wesley defence. As full time approached a Wesley scrum on the opposition 22 led to a classic back line move with winger Tommy O’Callaghan crossing to touch down for the icing on the cake. Maybury again converted to seal a well deserved first AIL win of the season.
Old Wesley team: Jack Maybury, Eoghan O’Reilly, David Poff, James O’Donovan, Tommy O’Callaghan, Tim Clifford, Aaron Atkinson, Cronan Gleeson, Conor Maguire, James Burton, Donnchadh Phelan, JJ O’Dea, Stephen Boyle, Darren Horan (capt), Kieran Murphy.
Subs: Craig Telford, David Henshaw, John Fitzgerald, Cillian Monahan, Richie Jermyn
Old Wesley scorers: Eoghan O’Reilly, try; Tim Clifford, try; Tommy O’Callaghen, try, Jack Maybury, 2 tries, 3 cons, pen.