1st XV v Old Wesley (A) 19.10.2019

Old Wesley RFC V St Mary’s College RFC

24                  16        

Energia AIL Division 1B

Energia Park

Saturday 19th October 2019


The last kick of the game, a successful penalty for Old Wesley elicited an almost inaudible, sad ululation from the St Marys’ supporters, for their team deserved so much better than the final score indicated. The president, Michael O’Flaherty, the coaches and the players were forlorn after this game, although with sporting acceptance, their disappointment was understandably, ineffable.

This was an effervescent game of fast, skilful rugby in perfect conditions. It was also an evenly contested match. Old Wesley, have, as they had last year, a physically sizeable and adroit team; they play a rapid inter-passing game.  Tommer’s team has fine-tuned over the past three weeks and is developing nicely, with a good balance between pack and backs.  Today the set pieces were strong and unyielding, the improved rucking benefited from top quality Ronan Watters’ presence and Jack Dilger’s introduction after half time. The error level was much reduced, defence was generally improved, the half backs worked well together, with the backline inventive and potent.  This is a young, creative team on an upward trajectory. The work of Steven, Jamie and Barry is taking effect.

The forward play, as noted, was cogent, every man playing his part with determination. At fullback was Mark Fogarty, who had been out for some time.  He came back with an explosion, he was the epitome of bravery and skill and made effective ground in tight spaces, when in possession, he had an excellent game.  Ruairi Shields has settled in at outhalf, and he too had a fine game generally. He also had a conversion and three good penalties, one a long distance one. His partner, Cormac Foley showed his worth emphatically, displaying game control and variation, effective kicking and penetrative running. His overall contribution to the game was most valuable; and so he received the SoftCo MoM award.

It is disappointing, to have only accrued five points from three games; we were denied two today in unfortunate circumstance. From a vantage point four or five metres or so away, the final try of the game appeared to come from a forward pass and a ball player with a foot in touch.  This was only four minutes from the end with scores level at 16-16.  That said, Old Wesley had ascendency for several periods, did play well; and unintentional decision errors have to be accepted sportingly.

The next game in the league will be at home to the leaders, Highfield, on 2nd November, so there are two weeks in which to prepare; they have been sailing ahead of all others, with 14 points and barrow loads of tries.

The Game

The G4 pitch was unaffected by the morning rain, indeed conditions were perfect and so was the start, for after only three minutes, Cormac picked up a  ball near the halfway line and took a  hard diagonal vector towards the far corner, he switched to Hugo just inside the 22 metres line and he put on the turbo.  He was stopped near the line, the ball was recycled and taken on.  Richie was almost over, then mighty Micko used his pulverising power to surge over the line and score with éclat.  Ruairi converted.  We were 0-7 up. We continued to press.  The forwards were supplying good ball and the backs were humming. It was nine minutes gone, and Ruairi converted a nice penalty.  We led 0-10. Old Wesley started putting on some pressure themselves, and converted penalties at 14 and 25 minutes to get back to 6-10. The pressure switched to and fro until half time; we were very happy with the 6-10 lead going into the break. Our defence was showing well.

The second half, and the intensity and pace remained sizzling. Jack Dilger came on to good effect at 8, and Ronan switched to 7, where he was very soon in ebullition.  It was only five minutes old when a midfield break saw Jim O’Donovan run in under the posts and make the score for Wesley, 13-10; getting tight. On 54 minutes, we drew level with a penalty from Ruairi, 13-13.  On 67 minutes they drew ahead again 16-13.  A fine long range penalty from Ruairi on 70 minutes had us back where we deserved to be 16-16.  To and fro we went, to and fro they went, passes and probes; straining, bursting and battling.  Then tragedy struck on 74 minutes when a bouncing ball inside our 22, was hooked to David Poff, who ran in in the corner, 21-16.  More pain was to come.  Every cell strained as we surged and drove but alas an added heartbreak came.  We gave away a penalty in the middle of the field, which Wesley struck straight and true, 24-16 and not even a losing bonus point for us.

Team up with Tommer

D O’Brien

Team (Rolling Replacements X12)

15 M Fogarty, 14 H Conway, 13 M Carey, 12 M O’Gara, 11 C Kennedy, 10 R Shields, 9 C Foley, 8 R Watters, 7 C Dempsey,  6 D Aspil, 5 L Corcoran, 4 P Starrett, 3 M McCormack, 2 R Halpin, 1 T O’Reilly (Capt), S Healy, N McEniff,  J Dilger, L Curran, A McEvoy, M Oppermann