Match Centre - October 5, 2019 - 2:30 pm

All Ireland League 

Old Wesley RFC
Banbridge RFCBanbridge RFC 1sts XV

@ Donnybrook Stadium

Match Details


“One that got away” was how Bann Coach Mark McDowell summarised his team’s defeat last Saturday at Energia Park in Dublin.
“We had enough chances to win the game but just weren’t clinical enough,” said McDowell when reflecting on a game from which his charges came away pointless.
An error- strewn first half had finished with the sides level, with Bann full-back Adam Doherty matching his opposite number Rory Stynes’ effort off the tee. With Old Wesley’s handling in the wet conditions letting them down and Bann’s lineout proving a fruitless source of supply for the visitors – indeed Bann’s first lineout success came off a Wesley throw after their own first four had gone to the opposition – neither side seriously threatened to cross the other’s try line.
Stynes’ effort off the tee from 42 metres, after Bann had been penalised at a set scrum three minutes after the re-start, drifted wide. And when play moved to the other end Bann went through the phases to set Conor Field off on a run down the right flank which ended with the winger being bundled into touch a metre short of the line.
But with the Bann scrum again falling foul of the referee’s interpretation of the Laws, Stynes was given and took the simplest of chances to double his own and his side’s tally.
A deliberate knock-on saw the home side’s ranks reduced on the hour and five minutes later a searing break from Doherty almost produced a try.
But as the game went into the final stages the visitors’ line came under serious threat as a result of successive scrimmaging infringements. A great steal at a lineout by Bann No 8 Stephen Irvine brought temporary relief, but soon Wesley were imposing themselves again deep in the Bann “22”. A thumping tackle saw the ball break loose, centre Andrew Morrison gathered and sprinted to halfway.
But the ball was knocked out of scrum-half Neil Kilparick’s grasp and fed to Wesley flanker Conor Barry who galloped to the try line without a Bann finger being laid on him.
Stynes’ conversion took his side 10 points clear and although Bann won a penalty from the re-start Doherty’s off-target effort off the tee proved to be the last act of the game.
“It was frustrating to leave Wesley with nothing,” said McDowell. “I think at the very least we deserved something from the game but unfortunately we missed that penalty at the end which would have earned us a losing bonus point.
“We had periods of dominance in attack in both halves but we just weren’t clinical enough at key times. We had good attacking positions in their “22” and either gave up possession too cheaply or our set piece didn’t function. That’s really what contributed to the loss.
Despite that off-colour lineout and malfunctioning set scrum, Bann were still well in contention up until those final few minutes of the game. And McDowell said that was a mark of the character of the team. “It shows the character of the group that they were able to be battling at 6-3 down in the 76th minute. But unfortunately Wesley scored their breakaway try. The defeat was through no lack of effort – when we sit down to review the game I’m quite certain that we’ll see lots of positive play and lots of positive actions.
“Maybe we lacked that wee bit of killer instinct at key moments that could have put Wesley under pressure and tilted the scoreboard in our favour.”
McDowell said that looking to this Saturday’s game at home to Highfield he’d be looking to build on the team’s attacking game. The Cork side kicked off their season with a 27-6 win at home to Malone, but the Bann Coach said that his players were relishing the challenge that Highfield would present. “Our boys are excited to have their first home All-Ireland League game of the season. I’m sure we’ll get a big crowd down who will provide a big boost for the boys as well.
“We’ll review, see what we need to do this week and come up with a plan that is hopefully going to get us a result against Highfield.”
Bann team v Old Wesley:- Adam Doherty, Conor Field, Andrew Morrison, Jonny Little, Hugo Harbinson, Josh Cromie, Neil Kilpatrick, Michael Cromie (Capt), Peter Cromie, Ross Haughey, Matthew Laird, Robin Sinton, Ryan Hughes, Ethan Harbinson, Stephen Irvine. Replacements:- Tim Savage, Robbie Mathers, Martin Vorster, Aaron Kennedy, Joe Finnegan