Old Wesley 13 Tallaght 1st 13

Joe Ivers

Old Wesley R.F.C. 13

Tallaght 1st R.F.C. 13

Tries: Adam Nolan
Con: Adam Nolan
Pen: Adam Nolan 2

Metro League Division 7
Donnybrook
14/03/2018

It was third versus second as Tallaght travelled to Donnybrook to take on Old Wesley in Division 7 of the Metro League on a Wednesday night. Both teams were level on points but Wesley lead in the table due to having lost one fewer game so things were tense as both teams continued their push for a place in the final. It was a filthy night to play rugby with strong wind and constant driving rain and luckily for the fans, the game was played on the main Donnybrook pitch so at least they could watch the game from the shelter of the stand.

Wesley started the better side and had the wind behind them for the first half. Their work at the breakdown earned them two kicks at goal in the first ten minutes and after hitting the post with the first effort, they converted the second to lead 3-0. Tallaght dominated possession for the rest of the first half but couldn’t find a way to translate it into points. They were possibly guilty of trying to play too much rugby out wide and with the ball a bar of soap, they couldn’t hang onto it long enough to convert chances. Old Wesley’s defence was very well drilled and they contained Tallaght and also pinned them back in their own half with some smart tactical kicking.

The first half finished without further score from either team, but Wesley capitalised on some Tallaght errors to kick a penalty to double their lead to 6-0 early in the second half. Things got worst again for Tallaght when Wesley kicked a penalty to the corner and managed to maul the ball over from the line-out. They converted to lead 13-0.

Tallaght looked in trouble but they started to attack Wesley around the fringes with some strong, direct carries from Aaron Morgan, Tony McManus and Sean Judd. Number eight Adam Nolan started taking on play-maker duties and he combined with Ken McGovern and Alan Sower with strong carries to win a penalty. Nolan converted it to make it 13-3. After conceding a string of penalties, the referee finally lost patience with Wesley and binned one of their players. Tallaght sought to take advantage but after a series of scrums on the Wesley line, the ball was lost forward and the chance was gone.

Tallaght kept on fighting though and they were aided by some quality tactical kicking from Nolan and Russell that put Tallaght into the Wesley half. When Tallaght won another penalty in their own half, Nolan found touch only ten metres out with a superb kick. Tallaght won the lineout and after a series of strong carries by the backs and forwards, eventually Nolan forced his way over for the try. His converted his own try to make it 13-10 with less than five minutes to go.

Buoyed on by the travelling Tallaght support who were noisy as ever, Tallaght were in the ascendancy now. Karl Segrave chased up another fine tactical kick from Jack Russell and tackled his man which led to another Tallaght penalty wide on the left. Nolan hooked this one, but moments later he another another chance to tie the match. It was further out but a straighter angle and Nolan nailed it to bring it back to 13 point a piece. Both teams tried to work their way into a position to get a winning score, but the match ended a draw which was a fair result overall.

It means that Tallaght still have their own fate in their hands in their quest to make the league final for the second year running. They need to beat UCD and then beat Seapoint by 8 points or more to deny them a losing bonus point. If they do that, they’ll finish ahead of Seapoint and will make the final.

Head coach Tom Leigh praised his side character. “It was a tough night to play rugby in those conditions and we struggled against the wind in the first half. It didn’t look good when they took a big lead early in the second half but the lads just fronted up and got us back into the match. Adam Nolan led the charge and showed real guts to make the kick after missing one beforehand. Our big ball carriers really showed up like Aaron Morgan, Ken McGovern and Jack Russell. The main thing is we’re still alive and can make it to another final with two more wins. We know what we need to do, now we just got to go out and do it.”

 

Man of the match: Adam Nolan

 

Tallaght 1sts

15. Simon Collie
14. Aaron Shanahan
13. Padhraig Jones
12. Stephen Heaney
11. Karl Segrave
10. David Clarke
9. Andy Rudd

1. Alan Sower
2. Ken McGovern
3. Tony McManus
4. Joe Ivers
5. Mark Keogh
6. Jack Russell (Captain)
7. Daniel Pomares
8. Adam Nolan

Replacements:

16. Sean Judd
17. Aaron Morgan
18. Andy Caswell
19. Daryl Keogh
20. Stephen Kelly
21. Ciaran Rudd

 

Report: Jim O’Connor
Photos: Anne Kavanagh

Karl Segrave
Tony McManus

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