WANDERERS 30 GREYSTONES 17
Silverware in the cabinet and four AIL points saw Wanderers get back to winning ways with a deserved 30 -17 victory over AIL 2B leaders Greystones at Merrion Road on Saturday.
In their previous two AIL games, Wanderers, although in control, conceded late scores in the final play of each match to lose the games by a two point and four-point margin to Blackrock and Belfast Harlequins.
Wanderers badly needed a win and they started strongly and lay down an early marker with aggressive running and rucking in attack to lead 14-0 after ten minutes. After seven minutes, the outstanding Brian Vaughan, had Wanderers first try converted by Conor Byrne. Three minutes later, second row, Geoff Mullen, finished off a well organised rolling maul with a second try, again converted by Conor Byrne, and the home side were leading 14-0.
A shell-shocked Greystones came more into the game and after 17 minutes, running a ball from deep, saw their speedy winger score a try, not converted, to reduce the arrears to 14-5. With each side prepared to run the ball there was plenty of movement from both sides and while defences were tight, Greystones managed a break through after 33 minutes to score far out in the corner. The difficult conversion was missed but Greystones were back in the game with the score standing at 14-10.
In the run in to half time WFC pressure told when, after 38 minutes, Greystones conceded a penalty, converted by Conor Byrne and Wanderers went to the break leading 17-10. Would a seven-point lead be sufficient for the home side?
As with the first half Wanderers started the second half strongly and after 4 minutes a good break by scrum half, Conor McQuaid, saw him touch down for a try, converted by Conor Byrne, to give them a 24-10 lead. A subsequent penalty for WFC after 47 minutes saw their lead increased to 27-10 and a three-score game.
Periods of pressure by Greystones in the mid second half were met by great defending by Wanderers. With Greystones seeking to run every ball, even out of defense, this was curtailed by what can only be described as a ‘full court press’ and the home side pinned ‘Stones inside their own 22 for long periods.
A Wanderers penalty by Rob Mullen after 75 minutes saw the home side lead by twenty points, 30-10. With four minutes remaining on the clock following a Greystones penalty clearance they kicked for touch and with the touch judge indicating ‘touch in goal’ but the referee overruled and awarded a line out and from the resultant line out and rolling maul Greystones got in for a converted try to reduce the arrears to 30-17.
Thankfully (for WFC) it was a little too late for Greystones, and Wanderers and their supporters celebrated a well-deserved victory. Another entertaining game between these two sides, who over the past numbers of years have served up entertaining rugby with little between the sides. They will recommence battle again in the new year on Sat 15 January 2022.
Wanderers: 15. Niall O’Donoghue 14. Mikey Russell 13. Ben Mahon 12. Martin O’Neill 11. Eoin O’Shaughnessy 10. Conor Byrne 9. Conor McQuaid 1. Sean Goodburn 2. Brian Vaughan 3. Shane Moynihan 4. Mark O’Reilly 5. Geoff Mullan 6. Brian Quill (Capt) 7. Kevin Dolan 8. Lucas Culliton 16. Kieran Stokes 17. Aaron O’Callaghan 18. Connor Fenlon 19. Robert Mullen 20. Cian Doddy
Greystones: 15. Mark Myler 14. Ferdia Kenny 13. Andrew Lynch 12. Andrew Kealy 11. Nick Quirk 10. Killian Marmion 9. Andrew Roberts 1. Iva Takatai 2. Ntuthuko Mthembu 3. Conor Pearse 4. Eoin Marmion 5. Patrick Kieran 6. Dan Mannion 7. Conor McAleer 8 Danny Kenny 16. Michael Douglas 17. Barry Treanor 18. Rob Connolly 19. Matt O’Brien 20. Paudie Geoghegan