Wesley suffer first AIL loss of the season against Malone

AIL – Old Wesley 5 Malone 17

Old Wesley suffered their first defeat of the season against a fiery and well drilled Malone side at a cold Gibson Park on Saturday.

Playing into the breeze Old Wesley had the first good carry of the match when Conor Barry tore into the opposition making some ground.  However this did not last long as Malone got deep into Wesley territory shortly after.  After a line out the northerners immediately made good ground through their powerful pack.  They got over the line but the ball was deemed held up.  But from the ensuing scrum and some good carries Malone centre Callum Smith crossed for a try after just 4 minutes.  Jack Milligan converted for a 7-0 lead.  Wesley spent most of the remainder of the first quarter in their own half with the opposition constantly taking them on in all aspects.

After 22 minutes Malone again had a line out deep inside the Wesley 22.  This time however the throw in was crooked and after a further offence Wesley had a penalty to relieve the pressure.  But soon after, Malone increased their lead with a well struck penalty kick from 40 metres out.

Wesley eventually gained a foot hold in opposition territory but despite their best efforts they were unable to capitalise any further.  After a series of penalties Wesley then had a line out 7 metres from the opposition goal line.  There were some good carries but again the defence stood firm and a knock on eventually allowed Malone to relieve the pressure. Just short of half time, scrum half Josh Miller found a gap and made a break up to within 5 metres of the line. But after a number of promising carries Malone eventually turned over possession kicking to touch for half time.

Now playing with the breeze advantage Wesley needed to get on the scoreboard soon.  But they were dealt the worst possible blow when after 10 minutes, from a Malone scrum inside their own 22, Smith crossed for his 2nd try mid way between the posts and the touchline. Milligan again converted for a 17 nil lead, and Wesley now faced a major uphill task.  To their credit the Wesley players upped their game and started to put the home side under some pressure.  From a penalty inside the Malone 22 Wesley took a quick tap and run.  The plan looked good but they eventually ran out of space.  However Malone replacement Matty Agnew was shown yellow for a cynical offside offence; one of 3 yellow cards they were to be dealt during the match.  This time Wesley kicked to touch 5 metres out.  But again the opposition defence held firm and no score ensued.

Now into the last quarter Wesley were trying everything however and whilst they were starting to gain a territorial advantage, they were guilty of some handling errors at key moments.  Malone’s third yellow card came as the clock approached 80 minutes.  This led to a last gasp rally by Old Wesley and following a tap penalty the ball was eventually swung wide for Ed O’Keeffe to score in the corner.  Stynes missed the tricky conversion, Wesley’s first and only kick at the posts for the whole match, and with it came the final whistle.

Old Wesley can have no disputes with the result as Malone proved the better team on the day, taking better advantage of the conditions.  Wesley must now refocus on the last match before the mid season break; a home match on Thursday against Navan; which had been postponed from earlier in the year.

Old Wesley Team :Rory Stynes, Tommy O’Callaghan, James Donovan, David Poff, Ed O’Keefe, Tom Kiersey, Josh Miller, Harry Noonan, Ben Burns, Conor Maguire, JJ O’Dea, Iain McGann (c), Conor Barry, Ian Condell, Paul Derham.  Replacements- Craig Telford, James Burton, Josh Pim, Craig Miller, Brendan Monahan.

Scorers – Try – Ed O’Keefe.

Click here for photos by Ken Richardson

Updated AIL 1B League Table – click here.

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