All Ireland League – Old Wesley 40 NUIM Barnhall 10
Old Wesley travelled to NUIM Barnhall in Leixlip for match 12 in the All Ireland League campaign. However for the first 15 minutes the players looked like they had been wining and dining at the pre match lunch. During this period the Kildare men looked by far the stronger side regularly gaining ground and forcing Wesley to mishandle and concede possession. Indeed Barnhall opened the scoring with a penalty kick after just 2 minutes by their out half Simon Gillespie. From the restart Rory Stynes failed to kick 10 meters and from the ensuing scrum Barnhall swung the ball wide for a try out wide by Rob Mullen, which was converted by Gillespie.
However approaching the end of the first quarter, and against the run of play Rory Stynes found a gap in the opposition defence on half way. He then jinked passed a couple of would be tacklers to cross under the posts. Ian Cassidy converted to cut the deficit to 10-7 to the hosts. This marked a dramatic swing in dominance to Old Wesley and suddenly it was Barnhall who started to make the errors. Barnhall did have an opportunity to score from a line out 5 meter line out, but the Wesley defence held firm eventually forcing a knock on. A number of good forward carries by Old Wesley brought play up to the opposition 22, then scrum half Cassidy swung the ball wide where Stynes was again on hand for try number 2 for Old Wesley. Cassidy converted from out wide to take a 14-10 lead. Barnhall’s woes continued when their winger Sean Lacey was yellow carded. But minutes later Old Wesley second row Michael Dunleavy received a similar punishment for a line out infringement. From the ensuing penalty Gillespie’s kick came back off the upright and the scores remained unchanged until half time.
For most of the first half Wesley opted to run virtually everything, but now with the wind advantage Alan Large started to use the boot more, pinning Barnhall into their own half. This paid off and from a line out 12 meters out the Wesley pack won clean possession and rumbled their way to the line resulting in a try by Dunleavy. The Wesley pack was now starting to dominate and the Barnhall scrum was starting to creak and their line was malfunctioning. The Kildare men had a scoring opportunity with a line out on 5 meters however they could not control possession. Second row Iain McGann collected the ball, ran then kicked to touch proving that not just out halves can kick the ball.
Then 16 minutes into the second half the sizeable crowd in attendance witnessed what must be one of the most elegant tries ever scored by Old Wesley(see video below). Barnhall were on the attack and up to the Wesley 22. Darren Horan won a fine turnover and the ball was quickly passed out to Eoin Stynes. Stynes, from his own 22, sprinted, jinked and danced his way past numerous defenders to cross untouched under the posts. Cassidy converted and at 27-10 the result was no longer in any doubt. With 10 minutes on the clock a fine break by Richie Jermyn brought play deep into the opposition 22. Barnhall looked to have halted the attack and turn over possession, however a handling error on their own line allowed Jermyn to pounce on the ball for try number 5. As the game approached full time Wesley were again on the attack and from a 5 meter line out and a number of carries Mark Rowley eventually had the honour of scoring the final try. Cassidy converted to leave the final score 40-10.
14 points clear of second placed Blackrock and with 3 matches remaining Old Wesley are now within touching distance of the league title and of course promotion. However this team continues to show maturity and patience not allowing their heads to get too big. Next up it’s Naas who are coached by former Old Wesley coach Dan van Zyl; we can’t wait.
Team: Rory Stynes, Eoin Stynes, Steven Harvey, Johann Greyling, Richie Jermyn, Alan Large (capt), Ian Cassidy, Ken Knaggs, David Rowley, Oltian Dervishi, Michael Dunleavy, Iain McGann, Darren Horan, Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley. Subs: Gavin Telford, Davy Henshaw, Richie Morrow, Josh Hinde, Ger Finucane.
Old Wesley scorers: Rory Stynes, 2 tries; Michael Dunleavy, try; Eoin Stynes, try; Richie Jermyn, try, Mark Rowley, try; Ian Cassidy, 5 cons.
Rory Stynes second try: