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Naas 27 - Old Wesley 8   05/02/2017

Naas 27 - Old Wesley 8

After a break of almost two months Naas resumed their Ulster Bank AIL League campaign with a home fixture against Old Wesley on Friday night. When these sides last met the visitors won narrowly by 19-16, so the extremely large crowd that turned up expected a similarly close contest. However that was not to be the case as Naas took control early and with Peter Osborne producing a masterclass of rugby they ran out emphatic winners.

This match was played in perfect conditions and the home side started brightly, attacking their opponents with purpose and soon had them in big trouble.

Within ten minutes they were six points in front with Osborne successful with two penalties. Soon after they were unlucky not to be further ahead as Osborne with another well struck penalty had the misfortune to see it strike the post.

On 21 minutes Naas got the first try of the night. A sublime break by Johne Murphy took him clear, he found Paulie Tolofua and when he was tackled, Peter Osborne was on hand to take the pass and score under the posts. The latter had no problem tapping over the conversion. Although Old Wesley responded almost immediately with a Tim Clifford penalty Naas were comfortably ahead by 13-3.

The home side put the finishing touches on an excellent first half by adding a second try just before the break. After sustained Naas pressure Henry Bryce was held up just short of the line, the ball was quickly recycled and Peter Osborne was able to score again. This conversion was considerable more difficult than the opening one for Osborne, but with his confidence high it made no difference to him, and he gave Naas a 20-3 lead at the interval.

Old Wesley had to start the second half well and they did just that. Within three minutes they won a penalty which they kicked to within 20 yards of the Naas line. From the subsequent line-out they set up a rolling maul which led to their hooker Conor Maguire diving over for a try.

However any thoughts of a big fightback were quickly snuffed out by Naas. Nine minutes into the half Fionn Carr sliced through the Wesley defence, he passed to Rob O'Connor and when he was tackled Will O'Brien finished off the move to score a third try for Naas. Osborne was again successful with the conversion to give Naas a 27-8 lead.

With 30 minutes remaining thoughts now turned to a fourth try and a bonus point for Naas. However it was not to be, as there was no further scoring in the game, the only disappointment on a great night for Naas. The pack led by Will O'Brien was outstanding with Jason Harney, Paul Monahan and Paulie Tolofua to the fore, while the backs always looked dangerous with Peter Howard making an impressive AIL debut. In addition this was a landmark victory for the home side, their 100th ever in the AIL League.

So the large home crowd went home happy after an impressive victory by Naas. No doubt many of them will make the trip to Limerick next Saturday when Naas face U.L. Bohemians at Thomond Park, with a 4.30pm kick-off.

Naas: Fionn Carr, Rob O'Connor, Johne Murphy, Henry Bryce, Peter Howard,  Ben Swindlehurst, Peter Osborne, Dan O'Byrne, Graham Reynolds, Jason Harney, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Eoin Walsh, Will O'Brien (capt), Paulie Tolofua. Replacements: Warren Larkin, Adam Coyle, Andrew Kearney, Jeff Delaney, Michael Skelton.

Old Wesley: Rory Stynes, Billy Henshaw, Issac Leota, Ger Finucane, Alan Large, Tim Clifford, Adam Griggs, David Henshaw, Conor Maguire, James Burton, Iain McGann, Michael Dunleavy, Darren Horan (capt), Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley. Replacements: David Rowley, Martin Gately, Donnachadh Phelan, Matthew Bursey, Adam Kennedy.






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