AIL Promotion Semi-Final – Shannon 24 Old Wesley 6
Old Wesley’s AIL promotion campaign came to an abrupt end with a loss to Shannon at Thomond Park. Despite leading after 30 minutes, it was the Limerick side that emerged comprehensive winners on the day,
Old Wesley were first off the mark with a penalty goal by Ian Cassidy after just three minutes. Wesley continued to look the slightly better side for the first quarter and Cassidy kicked a second penalty after 19 minutes. Indeed, Wesley’s discipline must be complimented as they gave away no penalties for the first 25 minutes compared to the opposition’s three.
But after the opening half hour there was a sudden change of impetus as Shannon started to flex their muscles. Finding a gap in the Wesley defence they were nearly over for a try only for the ball to be knocked on over the line. But directly from the goal line drop out they ran the ball across the pitch to cross for the first try of the match. An intercept by James O’Donovan looked like Wesley might respond but play was brought back for a penalty. Shannon opted to kick for touch and shortly after they were in for their second try, this time converted to give the Limerick side a 12-6 lead at half time.
Shannon started the second half where they left off and after just two minutes they were in for their third try. To their credit Wesley never wilted and indeed for much of the second half they had the territorial and possession advantage. Despite this advantage the Shannon defence proved unbreakable. A couple of line breaks by David Poff had Shannon momentarily on the back foot. Then a yellow card for Number 8 Daniel Okeke for a dangerous tackle gave Wesley a chink of light. However, the Shannon defence held firm. Wesley earned three 5 metre line outs and from one they mauled towards the line and made some big carries. But it ended with a penalty to the opposition for holding on.
Again, Wesley continued to bombard but it came to naught. Shannon eventually lifted the siege and got play down into the Wesley 22. Then with the clock approaching 80 they crossed for their fourth try.
The score did not accurately reflect the match and Old Wesley certainly deserved at least one try, but it was Shannon that took their opportunities on the day and ended Wesley’s promotion challenge for this year.
Old Wesley scorers:- Ian Cassidy, 2 pens.
Old Wesley team:- Alex Molloy, Nathan Randles, Eoin Deegan, James O’Donovan, Tom O’Callaghan, Ian Cassidy, Gary Bradley, Harry Noonan, Howard Noonan, Cronan Gleeson, David Motyer, Iain McGann (c), Will Fay, Dom Maclean, Sam Pim. Replacements: – Finn Tierney, Sam Kenny, Josh O’Hare, Adrien Charbonnier, David Poff, Keith Kavanagh, Eoin Monahan.
Click here for photos by Ken Richardson