ALL Ireland League – Old Wesley 33 Cashel 12
The first quarter of this match proved the importance of a reliable place kicker. Both teams were awarded two kickable penalties. Cashel’s place kicker Dara O’Brien was wide with both. Old Wesley’s place kicker Ian Cassidy was on the mark with both, albeit easier, kicks to take a 6 nil lead. Old Wesley also had the better of the opening exchanges with their mobile back line regularly gaining territory on the visitors. Nonetheless a rare Rory Stynes handling error gave Cashel their first scoring opportunity with a scrum in the Wesley 22, however the Wesley defence stood firm and was able to relieve the pressure. Approaching the half hour mark a fine break by Old Wesley captain Alan Large brought play back into the Cashel 22. Wesley recycled a number of times and it was Large who eventually crossed and grounded for the first try of the match. Cassidy converted the straightforward kick. Then just 2 minutes later a brilliant piece of individual play by Namibian international JC Greyling saw him breach the opposition defence on half way and outpace a number of defenders to score in the corner giving the home side a healthy 18-0 lead. The visitors’ woes continued when they conceded a penalty for a high tackle, and just before half time their out half Ben Swindlehurst was yellow card for a technical offence. Old Wesley kicked to the corner but were unable to control the ensuing line allowing the visitors to be saved by the half time whistle.
Wesley started the second half where they left off with their mobile back line more suited to the fast all weather pitch. Cassidy then extended the lead with a well struck penalty form 40 meters. But the Tipperary men were not giving up and succeeded in bringing play into the Wesley 22. Some good phases of play ensued resulting in a try in the corner by Ed Leamy, brother of former international Denis Leamy. This spurred on the visitors and they looked as they might take the upper hand with some good carries and further visits to the Old Wesley 22. But Wesley’s defence held firm. Then it was the home sides turn for a sortie into the Munstermen’s defence. From a ruck on the 22 and quick recycled ball Large made a break down the blind side passing to Richie Jermyn who scored in the corner to make it 26-5 and any threat of a Cashel comeback had evaporated. Wesley continued to encroach into the opposition 22 but were finding it difficult to make the final break. Into the last 10 minutes the final result was in no doubt however it looked like it might be another comfortable win but no bonus point. However a loose Cashel pass was intercepted by Greyling who strolled over for possible the easiest try he ever scored. Cassidy converted the equally straightforward conversion.
The visitors crossed for a late try by Swindlehurst converted by Pat O’Connor but it was Old Wesley who celebrated the bonus point win. The result keeps Old Wesley on top of the table 5 points clear of chasers Blackrock and NUIM Barnhall
Team: Rory Stynes, Steven Harvey, Johann Greyling, Ger Finucane, Richie Jermyn, Alan Large (capt), Ian Cassidy, Ken Knaggs, David Rowley, David Henshaw, Josh Hinde, Iain McGann, Darren Horan, Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley. Subs: Andrew McCrann, Oltian Dervishi, Jurgen Steinbach, Craig Telford, Eoin Stynes,
Old Wesley scorers: Alan Large, try; Johann Greyling, 2 tries, Richie Jermyn, try, Ian Cassidy, 2 cons, 3 pens