OLD WESLEY 22
CORINTHIANS kept their bid for promotion on track after survivng a late scare against a strong finishing Old Wesley side in the All-Ireland League at Cloonacauneen Park on Saturday.
The contest took place in windy conditions which the home side used to their advantage in the first half. Attacking from the kick off, Corinthians missed out on an early score when they were penalised for a knock on one metre from the try line.
Corinthians continued to dominate with most of the play in Wesley’s half and they got their reward with a fine touchdown by right winger Darrin Classen after good handling by flanker Aurelien Casanova and full back Dave Panter. Out half Mick O’Flynn added the extras.
Old Wesley were on the scoreboard soon afterwards after referee Dave O’Flynn pulled Corinthians for an infrigement in the ruck. Wesley’s left winger Barry McLaughlin converted the penalty from outside the ten metre line.
With half time fast approaching, Corinthians worked their way up the pitch with some inter play by scrum half Steven Bruce and his outside half O’Flynn, allowing loose head Finlay Bealham to gather the ball and pounce over in the corner with his pack assisting him. O’Flynn was unable to convert from the touch line, but Cortinthians were 12-3 in front at the break.
Old Wesley had an opportunity on the resumption when the home side were pulled for infringing, but McLaughlin was just wide with his penalty effort. After this let off, the Corinthian pack came more into the contest with lock Gary Warde and flanker Sean Gerrity driving forward for number eight Aaron Conneely to provide the vital pass to captain Fionn Gormley for their third try. O’Flynn landed the coversion.
Corinthians created another try scoring opportunity but second centre James Buckley’s pass to flanker Gerrity went astray with the wind blowing across the pitch. Their fourth try and bonus point came in the 55th minute with man of the match Darrin Classen gathering a loose ball from the visitors ten metre line before linking up with Gormley, who put Cian Begley clear to touch down. The try was unconverted.
The home team seemed to take the foot of the pedal at this stage but, in fairness to Old Wesley they did not travel down to take in the scenery. The Donnybrook outfit, especially their pack, started to dominate the set piece which allowed them to drive up the pitch and maul over the Corinthian line for their hooker Darren Horan to claim the touchdown. McLaughlin tapped over the convert.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.