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10/02/2023

Old Wesley 7 – 60 Lansdowne

Metro League Division 5

 

Coaches Dave Tunney, Mark Quinn and Shane Dalton looked on with quiet confidence as their J3s warmed up on the back pitch of Energia Park on Friday night. They looked on because their work was being done for them by captain Rob Troy who led the squad through the final preparations for the match as he has led them all season: with natural authority and example. “The thinking man’s Roy Keane” as one of them put it!

If there were any doubts about how this final match of the league would play out, they were dispelled within the first three minutes, as centre Josh Healy broke through his defenders on the blindside and offloaded to our latest recruit from La Belle France, Arthur Rousset finished under the posts to make Captain Rob’s first conversion a no-brainer. 0 – 7

Almost immediately from the restart the tally was doubled with Rob fielding a clearance kick and starting a counterattack from inside our 22. Arthur was central again, showing great speed, strength and the confidence to put them to the test as he scorched into enemy territory, offloading to another contact-junkie, winger Tadgh Brennan who finished the blistering move. 0 – 14 after just over 10 minutes.

The hosts weren’t going to let us have it all our own way and retaliated with a well-worked try after good interplay with forwards and backs. 7 – 14.

But after another few minutes, we would close down any gaps that had let them in, and that was as much as the hosts would score for the rest of the night.  With the greatest of respect for Old Wesley, what followed was a Tour de Force of a Lansdowne team on top of their game.

Next on the scoreboard was Dave Kavanagh just back from serving his country in the Lebanon, he wanted to serve his club now too. He took the ball straight from the kick out and powered through the forlorn defences. 7 – 21. Then came the turn of prop Johnny Barry, scoring his first for the grown ups after a notable career in minis and youths, he supported a quick tip from a penalty by scrum half Rory Durand.  Kav must have enjoyed his first sweet smell of the try line, because he was back on the score board again before too long, capitalizing again on gaps in defence at a penalty.  The score was 7 – 34 as the whistle blew for half time.

The second half offered no respite for the Old Wesley defences as sub winger Rob Manning finished off a kick through from excellent counter ruck, one of many won by second row Michael Whelan (you didn’t really think I’d leave him out, did you?!) 7- 41.

Wesley enjoyed a strong period of solid defence, even if they never posed a real threat in attack, so it seemed like a long time before we rattled the scoreboard again, this time another Gaul prop Dorian Graef finishing off a forward drive in the corner. 7 – 46. Next up was scrum half Rory Durand who found a gap at the edge of the Wesley ruck to score. 7 – 53.

The coup de grace came from veteran all-rounder (he won’t mind being called an all-rounder, will he?) Ross Farrell who touched down after another forward drive, which, with the conversion brought the final tally to 7 – 60. (Whatever they say on the Branch website!)

A great credit to the coaching team, to the leadership on the pitch and also proof of the renaissance in junior rugby, destined as it surely is for some silverware this season. Touch wood…

 

Match Report – Brian Whelan

 

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