Solid start for Old Wesley in AIL
All Ireland League – Old Wesley 22 Skerries 0
Last Friday Old Wesley secured a 22 points to nil away victory over Skerries R.F.C. in the first match in this seasons All Ireland League.
On a dry mild evening in the North County Dublin seaside resort , the ideal rugby conditions came as a surprise to the Wesley team and supporters who had travelled through downpours described as having been of “ biblical proportions “. As they ran on to the field Old Wesley were greeted by a large home crowd who had turned out to support their team newly promoted from division 2b.
From the kick off, it became apparent that Old Wesley were in a match as Skerries threw everything into attack and only for some resolute defence failed to score. In particular a try saving tackle by Ian Cassidy saving the day. As the first half progressed Old Wesley started to come in to the game more and after a series of kicked penalties to the corner Ivan Campbell drove over the line after a good off load by Cassidy for the first try of the match. The conversion was missed. More pressure put on the Skerries forwards led to them receiving two yellow cards in the space of a minute. However they continued to defend well until the break and Wesley’s only reward was a penalty goal kicked by Barry McLaughlin to leave the half time score 8 nil to old Wesley.
On the resumption, and with Skerries still down to 13 men, Old Wesley started to dominate and a good drive by the forwards led to man of the match Mark Rowley scoring under the posts for Wesley’s second try, which was converted by McLoughlin giving Wesley a 15 nil lead .
Skerries, now back to full strength, started to move the ball wide trying to break down the Wesley defence, but a wayward pass was intercepted by the ever vigilant McLaughlin who ran forty metres to score under the posts. The conversion by McLaughlin stretching Wesley’s lead to 22 nil.
With half an hour still on the clock Wesley looked set to increase their lead and to secure a bonus point victory. But for the remainder of the match the Skerries defence proved difficult to break down and indeed they could have scored late in the game only to be denied by some solid Wesley tackling.
All in all a good opening performance by Old Wesley and while failing to secure the bonus point they must be satisfied with their defence against an opposition who never gave up the fight.