All Ireland League – Old Wesley 16 Naas 10
In round 2 of the competition Old Wesley made it 2 AIL wins out of 2 with a deserved 16-10 win over Naas at Forenaughts in a match played in weather that ranged from heavy showers to pleasant sunshine.
Wesley had the better of the early stages with a number of visits to the opposition 22, but despite some promising threats were unable to cross the line. After 13 minutes Wesley were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which Rory Stynes had no difficulty in converting. It was 20 minutes into the game before Naas gained any significant territory but it was quickly thwarted. A break by Tommy O’Callaghan, taken on by Iain McGann once again had Naas on the back foot. No try resulted but a penalty in a similar position to the first one allowed Stynes to extent the lead to 6 nil.
Shortly after the restart Naas had their first scoring opportunity down the left wing, however the Wesley defence dealt with the situation without difficulty. Then shortly before half time an excellent break by Stynes brought play deep into the opposition 22. The pass to the supporting O’Callaghan was perfect who crossed for the first try of the match. Stynes converted from wide out to give Old Wesley a healthy 13 nil lead at the break.
6 minutes into the second half Wesley were dealt a blow when Cronan Gleeson was forced to leave the pitch with suspected concussion. However he was ably replaced by the experienced and reliable James Burton. Wesley were now starting to ask questions of the Kildare side, swinging the ball from side to side with confidence. A turnover midfield looked promising for Wesley however it was thwarted by an intercept. A high tackle by a Naas player led to a penalty and yellow card, allowing Wesley to gain a line out 10 meters from the opposition goal line. Another penalty and this time Stynes extended the lead with a well struck kick from 25 meters out.
With 28 minutes on the clock it was the turn of Naas when they were awarded a penalty which they kicked into the Wesley 22. Then from a penalty advantage a cross kick was fielded by Fionn Higgins who crossed in the corner for Naas’s first score of the match. The conversion was missed leaving the score 16-5. This got the Naas supporters in full voice and their team responded with a renewed step. They threw everything at Wesley with the sniff of a bonus point or even a win. Now in injury time they the home side had the visitors under pressure. They were awarded a couple of penalties, but with at least 4 points need for the loser’s bonus point they ran everything. It eventually paid off when they were rewarded with a try in the corner by substitute Eoin Walsh. The conversion was missed leaving Old Wesley the deserved winners.
Next week it’s a home derby against St. Mary’s where Wesley will be anxious to maintain their winning run.
Old Wesley Team: Rory Stynes, Tommy O’Callaghan, David Poff, James O’Donovan, Richie Walsh, Josh Miller, Charlie O’Regan, Harry Noonan, Ben Burns, Cronan Gleeson, Iain McGann (Capt), JJ O’Dea, Conor Barry, Stephen Boyle, Paul Derham. Replacements: Craig Telford, James Burton, Luke Thompson, Tim Clifford, Bill Corrigan.
Old Wesley scorers: Tommy O’Callaghan, try; Rory Stynes con, 3 pens.