Naas hunger wins out at Donnybrook
All Ireland League – Old Wesley 12 – Naas 17
Playing a team in the relegation zone always spells danger and this was certainly true as Naas showed the greater hunger in their quest to avoid the drop.
The Kildare men had a dream start as their centre Eoghan Conron crossed for a try after just one and a half minutes following a line out in the Old Wesley 22. They extended it to 7 points with a well struck conversion. 8 minutes into the game Old Wesley had a chance to even things when they had a line out in the Naas 22 however the referee deemed the throw in crooked and the opportunity was gone. As the first half continued Wesley started to look the better outfit with their scrum in particular causing headaches for the opposition. However despite the dominance they could not score, not helped by some handling errors. When Naas prop Dan O’Byrne was dealt a yellow card for stamping this spurred on the home side. Wesley eventually got off the mark with a try by Ian Cassidy after a fine solo effort off the blind side of a ruck. McLaughlin missed the conversion from out wide. Then just before half time the visitors converted a penalty kick to make it 10-5 to Naas at the break.
The second half stared in a lively fashion with both sides looking to run the ball. Then 12 minutes into the half a fine line break by Old Wesley centre Steven Harvey saw him score a try under the posts. McLaughlin converted and for the first time in the match old Wesley were ahead 12-10. But shortly after Naas were in the Old Wesley 22 and there pack had Wesley in all sorts of trouble resulting in a yellow card for Thomas Ratahi. However Wesley looked to be off the hook when they missed the fairly straightforward penalty kick. With 11 minutes of time remaining Naas were awarded a penalty straight in front of the posts about 35 meters out. Surprisingly they opted to kick for touch rather than take on the kick at goal. But the gamble paid off and from the line out they had Wesley in trouble again this time resulting in a penalty try, which was easily converted. Old Wesley responded with some good attacking play however on more than one occasion they conceded a turnover. The Kildare side’s defence held firm until the final whistle and there were no further scores.
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:- Andrew McCrann, Oltian Dervishi, Steven Boyle, Josh Hinde, David Potterton.
Old Wesley scorers:- Ian Cassidy, try; Steven Harvey, try; Barry McLaughlin, con.