Ulster Bank All Ireland League – Old Wesley 11 – Cashel 6
Old Wesley travelled to Cashel for their last out of town AIL fixture of the season. Played in dry by cool and breezy conditions this match was tight and tense from start to finish with never more than 5 points separating the sides. From the outset it was clear that Old Wesley had the slightly more potent back line but the Tipperary men had the more physical pack that included lock Sean Walsh who the previous week had played for Ireland Clubs against England. .
Barry McLaughlin opened the scoring after 8 minutes with a well struck penalty kick, but 2 minute later Cashel winger Dara O’Brien evened the score with a penalty from a similar distance. Both sides were guilty of conceding penalties and McLaughlin regained the lead with a perfectly struck long range kick on the 25 minute mark. Cashel had a golden opportunity to restore the balance when they were awarded a penalty inside the Old Wesley 22 but the referee reversed the penalty after some lip from one of their players. The ref’s patience eventually ran out and Cashel’s influential No 8 Brendan O’Connor was shown a yellow card after a ruck infringement. However minutes later Thomas Ratahi received a similar punishment following a dangerous tackle. Then just on half time O’Brien kicked a relatively straightforward penalty to leave it 6 all at the break.
A minute into the second half McLaughlin was short with a difficult long range penalty. A fine line break by Cashel looked like they might get in for a try however some desperate defence by Old Wesley eventually forced a knock on. This spurred on the home side and it took some powerful scrummaging by Old Wesley to prevent them from scoring from a number of 5 meter scrums. Approaching the hour mark a fairly straightforward clearance kick by Cashel was fielded by Rory Stynes. Always looking to counterattack Stynes beat a number of tacklers before passing to Ian Cassidy who soft handed a pass to Conor Lavelle 10 meters from the Cashel line. Lavelle had a lot of work to do before grounding for a fine try in the corner. Cashel responded by applying great pressure mainly through their pack who drove over the line, however the dogged Wesley pack did just enough to prevent them grounding the ball. Coming into the final 10 minutes both sides upped their intensity and had a number of scoring opportunities. The final minutes saw the Wesley defence having to dig deep as Cashel again crossed only to be denied a score by some body on the line defending by the Wesley pack.
The final whistle was welcomed with much relief by the Old Wesley team and supporters. The 11-6 win promotes Old Wesley to 7th place in the league table.
Old Wesley:- Rory Stynes, Barry McLaughlin, Kieran Hurrell, Steven Harvey, Conor Lavelle, Alan Large (Capt), Ian Cassidy, Kenny Knaggs, Craig Telford, Kevin Becker, Iain McGann, Paul McCarroll, Darren Horan, Thomas Ratahi, Richie Morrow. Replacements:- Oltian Dervishi, Steven Boyle, Josh Hinde, Ivan Campbell, Dave Potterton..
Old Wesley scorers:- Conor Lavelle (try), Barry McLaughlin (2 pens)
Here is Conor Lavelle’s winning try from Saturdays game