NO JOY FOR ’STONES
Old Wesley pack too much punch in Division 2 final
OLD WESLEY GREYSTONES 41 5
IN the end the step up in facing opposition from two divisions higher in the All Ireland League and on their home pitch proved too much for this talented Greystones side who were battling to retain a trophy they have held on to for the last three years.
Old Wesley, currently competing in Division 1B of the AIL eventually ran out 41–5 victors in an entertaining match where the hosts were only a slightly flattered by the scoreline.
In selecting his squad for this post Christmas final, Greystones head coach Kevn Lewis had to contend with a series of absences either through unavailability or as key players recover from the attritional nature of the first half of the AIL and perhaps with an eye on the bigger prize of promotion from Division 2B come the first week of May fielded a starting 15 shorn of half a dozen first team regulars.
Wesley set the tone for the match right from the off taking the game to Greystones at pace and using a backline familiar with the unique nature of the 4G Energia Park pitch to devastating effect and within the first couple of minutes almost opened the scoring with a blistering break down the right wing.
This was repelled through a last ditch tackle from scrum half Andy Roberts who forced a foot into touch but the reprieve was short lived.
Finding it difficult to deal with the pace of the game Greystones were guilty of falling off tackles and leaving gaps in their defensive line and it took only 10 minutes for the opening score with a break through the middle for an easy touchdown under the posts. Wesley followed with a second on 20 minutes to extend the lead to 14 and added a third on the stroke of half time for a 19 point interval lead.
In between scores Greystones had good periods of possession but without finding the breakthrough score to get themselves into the game.
Wesley’s third try came at point when ‘Stones were pressurising their line only to spill possession and fail to gather a loose ball that was swiftly turned over for a length of the field try.
If there is anything Greystones head coach Kevin Lewis can take from the game it is how the smallest of errors can be punished with devastating effect. Second half tries included a couple of interceptions and a quick turnover and breakaway when in possession in attacking territory. The one consolation try came with the result already a foregone conclusion when Killiam Marmion finished a well worked move.
The focus for Greystones now moves to the pivotal away encounter with joint leaders of Division 2B in the All Ireland League, Barnhall who are level on points with ‘Stones in two weeks time.
Kevin Lewis remarked after the game how we had enjoyed winning this Leinster League trophy in the last three seasons and whilst defeat is disappointing every player put their all into the game and some of the younger players involved will have taken a lot from the experience.
Undoubtedly for the club the bigger prize is the AIL and focus now switches to what will be a very tough second half of the season kicking off in two weeks time on January 19 with that away game against Leinster rivals Barnhall.
Andrew Kealy (Capt), Dylan Simmonds, Con Callan, Ryan O’Loughlin, Matt O’Brien, Killian Marmion, Andy Roberts, Joel Penders, Michael Doyle, Conor Pearse, John Campbell, Michael Douglas, Eoin Marmion, Alan Dempsey, Robin O’Sullivan. Replacements: Cormac O’Donoghue, Daniel Power, Viktor Zelenka, Conor Byrne, James Dempsey, Barry Traenor, Chris Simmonds
Greystones RFC’s Andrew Kealy, Jamie Dempsey and Chris Simmonds in action against Old Wesley.
Ryan O’Loughlin puts in a tackle supported by Killian Marmion and Dylan Simmonds.