All Ireland League, Division 1 B
Old Wesley: 5
In their previous home All Ireland League fixture on February 23rd Naas produced a great
display to defeat the league leaders Malone. A fortnight on Naas were again faced with the
challenge of lowering the colours of the current league leaders, this time in the form of Old
The Dublin side had been racking up the points in recent times, scoring 41 points
against St. Mary’s College and no less than 57 in their victory over Ballymena. However a
superb defensive effort on the part of Naas kept their opponents scoreless until the very last
play of the game, setting up a crucial victory.
The story of the game is easily told. Old Wesley had the majority of play and possession but
could not break down a stubborn defence, and when Naas got a chance they were ruthless
in taking it.
Wesley had their first clear cut opportunity after 16 minutes. The home side were
penalised for hands in a ruck but Tom Clifford’s penalty attempt dropped short of the posts.
Wesley lost Paul Derham to a yellow card after 33 minutes but came very close to scoring
almost straight away.
They won a line-out in the Naas 22, set up a decent driving maul and
crashed over the line. However referee Eddie Hogan O’Connell deemed that Wesley did not
manage to ground the ball and Naas survived.
So it was scoreless at half-time but within three minutes of the restart Naas got the
scoreboard operator to work. They won a penalty on the half-way line which Johne Murphy
dispatched to touch. From the line-out a driving maul was set up and when this was stopped
close to the line, a series of pick and drives by the forwards followed until Will O’Brien
managed to crash over for a try. The conversion by Peter Osborne was successful and Naas
Old Wesley threw everything at Naas for the remainder of the match in a bid to rescue the
situation. They also turned down a chance at two kickable penalties which given the
closeness of the game was a very strange decision. They looked sure to score on 58
minutes when Darren Horan peeled off the side of a ruck but out of nowhere Peter Hastie
arrived and produced a superb try saving tackle.
The wave after wave of Wesley attacks never relented, but were stopped mostly down to
great defence, although the visitors will rue that they lost two line-outs five yards from the
Naas line due to crooked throws. However just when it appeared that Naas had done
enough for victory Wesley finally scored three minutes into injury time. Naas were penalised
for collapsing a scrum and the penalty was kicked into the corner. This time Wesley
managed to throw straight into the line-out and following a driving maul Paul Derham blasted
over for a try. Rory Stynes had a conversion opportunity to gain a draw for Old Wesley, but
to the relief of the Naas supporters he dragged his kick to the left of the posts and the home
side had gained a vital victory.
If sheer hard work and determination wins games then Naas deserved this victory. Yes they
rode their luck at times but every team needs a bit of that on occasions. This win moves
Naas up to fifth in the table, just five points off the leaders with three games to go. Next up
for them is an away trip to Banbridge on Saturday week, March 23rd. Kick-off is at 2.30 and
all support will be greatly appreciated.
Naas: Fionn Carr, Fionn Higgins Johne Murphy, Eoin Walsh, Andrew Ellis, Peter Hastie,
Peter Osborne, Conor Doyle, Graham Reynolds, Adam Coyle, Paul Monahan, David Benn,
Ryan Casey, Will O’Brien, Paulie Tolofua. Replacements: Cathal Duff, Peter King, Ruadhan
McDonnell, Niall Delahunt, Richard Fahy.
Old Wesley: Rory Stynes, Thomas O’Callaghan, Alan Gaughan, James O’Donovan, Paul
Harte, Tim Cliffford, Charlie O’Regan, Harry Noonan, Ben Burns, Cronan Gleeson,
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