AIL – Wesley reign in Old Boys Match
All Ireland League – Old Wesley 22 Rainey OB 16
Old Wesley bounced back from last week’s narrow defeat to City of Derry with a deserved victory against Rainey OB in Division 2A of the Ulster Bank League at Donnybrook. The result of this rearranged fixture lifts the Donnybrook side to 27 points in the table just a point behind the visitors, but they remain in 9th place.
In truth this was not the most exciting of encounters for the small attendance. Played on a firm dry pitch but with a strong cross-field breeze, the first half was error strewn with both sides finding the conditions difficult to handle. The home side started the brighter exerting dominance in the early scrums and making good ground in the loose. However, it was Rainey who took the lead in the twelfth minutes with a penalty goal from in front of the home posts and almost immediately extended this to six points with a second well struck penalty from 45 metres. Indiscipline at the breakdown was proving costly and negated good work from the Old Wesley pack as good field position was lost.
On the 20 minute mark a half break by No 15 Alan Large led to a penalty opportunity but the usually reliable Barry McLaughlin was wide from 35 metres. Indeed McLaughlin was to have a mixed day with the boot compared to his usual high standard. When presented with a further penalty opportunity on the half hour mark Old Wesley opted for touch with out half Rory Stynes setting up a 5 metre line out. A quick short lineout to Iain McGann ended with hooker Craig Telford crossing for the first try; McLaughlin converted to give the home side a 7 – 6 lead. Rainey stormed back driving at the Old Wesley defence but lacked the subtlety and penetration to alter the score line before the interval.
The second period started in disastrous fashion for the Donnybrook side as they conceded a soft penalty directly from the restart and Rainey edged into a two point lead. This appeared to stun Old Wesley into action and, within minutes, they bounced back with a fine try by scrum half Ian Cassidy following good interplay involving Barry McLaughlin, Darren Horan and Ian McGann. You can watch the try at the end of the page, McLaughlin converted to make the score 14 – 9. Somewhat against the run of play the Rainey full back O’Connor raced clear, following the break down of a promising Old Wesley attack, and it took a superb saving tackle by McLaughlin five metres from the line to protect the lead. This sparked a purple patch for the visitors who crossed the whitewash close to the home posts in a forwards drive following a line out after 63 minutes. The conversion put the visitors ahead again by 16 – 14. A 15 metre penalty by McLaughlin restored the Old Wesley lead and then, with five minutes remaining, wing Conor Lavelle, who was prominent throughout the match, fielded a loose kick to set up a counter attack close to the half way line. Having made good ground Lavelle delivered a great miss pass to set Alan Large free and, when stopped short of the line, he offloaded inside to Rory Stynes to touchdown. McLaughlin was narrowly wide with the conversion. Rainey hit back but failed to penetrate an organised Old Wesley rear guard as the home side held on to a deserved and welcome 22 – 16 victory despite a late yellow card for Darren Horan.
Old Wesley:- Alan Large (Capt), Barry McLaughlin, Kieran Hurrell, David Potterton, Conor Lavelle, Rory Stynes, Ian Cassidy, Kenny Knaggs, Craig Telford, David Henshaw, Iain McGann, Paul McCarroll, Darren Horan, Thomas Ratahi, Steven Boyle. Replacements:- Ben Horan, James Burton, Josh Hinde, Wes Deverell, Steven Harvey.
Old Wesley scorers:- Telford (try), Cassidy (try), Stynes (try), McLaughlin (2 cons, pen).