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Old Wesley Close Out Campaign With Division Three Title

Old Wesley Close Out Campaign With Division Three Title

Old Wesley won the battle of the two promoted sides in Saturday afternoon’s AIB League Division Three final, with young centre Barry McLaughlin playing a crucial role in their 18-point success over table-toppers Corinthians.



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Scorers: Corinthians: Tries: Cian Begley, Aurelien Casanova; Con: Wayne Williams
Old Wesley: Tries: Paul Campbell, Alan Thompson, Barry McLaughlin 2; Cons; David Smith 2; Pens: David Smith 2

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Post-Match Interviews

Former Ireland Schools and Under-19 hooker John Kerins was another player to star for Old Wesley, winning the man-of-the-match award for an all-action display, but Barry McLaughlin’s two-try salvo made the difference on the scoreboard.

It was Wesley’s first time to win the AIB League Division Three title, adding to the Division Two success they had back in 1991.

The Dublin side got off to a flying start with two tries in a four-minute spell in the first quarter.

Ever-alert scrum half Paul Campbell scampered over for the first after only nine minutes, profiting from a turnover by Chris McClean, with out-half David Smith converting.

Right winger Alan Thompson then won the race for possession for try number two and Smith landed a penalty on the half-hour mark to have his side 15-5 in front at the break.

The Corinthians’ try was scored by centre Cian Begley after 14 minutes. He capitalised when the Galway outfit’s best player on the day, their captain Pat Cunningham, blocked down an attempted clearance from Brian Hastings and offloaded for Begley to race over from far out.

Smith landed a penalty, two minutes into the second half, and Wesley tightened their grip on the game with two superb tries by McLaughlin.

The first came as Corinthians were camped on the Wesley try-line and a score seemed imminent. But the Dubliners’ back-three combined to turn over possession.

From their own line Wesley moved the ball wide and McLaughlin took a pass from player-coach Dan van Zyl, who came on as a replacement, and raced clear from his own 22. The former Wesley College pupil, aged 19, then chipped ahead and won the race for the touchdown.

That was a great try but it was nothing compared to the one McLaughlin got just at the end when he raced 65 metres and weaved past a number of defenders to dot down at the posts. Smith converted and Old Wesley began their celebrations.

Corinthians, who won the Connacht Senior Cup last week, had closed the gap on 72 minutes with a try from their industrious French back rower Aurelien Casanova, which Wayne Williams converted.

But there was no denying that Old Wesley, after their ninth victory in ten league games, were deserving winners of the play-off trophy, which champagne-doused captain Philip Hosie gleefully raised aloft after being presented with it by IRFU President John Lyons.

The game was watched by Ireland forwards coach Gert Smal and defence coach Les Kiss, who were suitably impressed with the high standard of play by both sides.

CORINTHIANS: Ronnie Ferguson; Richie Forbes, Wayne Williams, Cian Begley, James Buckley; David Clarke, Michael Roche; Paul McCreanor, Joey Merrigan, David Small, Gary Ward, Seamus Murphy, Pat Cunningham (capt), Tadhg Linnane, Barry McCann.

Replacements used: Aurelien Casanova for McCann (29 mins), Liam Carpenter for Murphy (45), Hugh Griffin for Clarke (56), David Lillis for McCreanor (76).

OLD WESLEY: Alan Large; Alan Thompson, Brian Hastings, Barry McLaughlin, Richie Thompson; David Smith, Paul Campbell; Iain Wallace, John Kerins, Robert Dempsey, Philip Hosie (capt), John Carroll, Chris McClean, Rory Gleeson, Colin Wallace.

Replacements used: Brian Doherty for Thompson (35 mins), Dave O’Leary for Campbell (half-time), Dan van Zyl for O’Doherty (48), Derek Wallace for Carroll (52), Simon Goldsmith for Dempsey (71), Ian Slattery for Gleeson (73).

Referee: Simon McDowell (IRFU)