OLD WESLEY’S Conor Maguire and Paul Derham have both been named in James Blaney’s Ireland Club XV to play Scotland on Friday night at Netherdale in the first round of the 2020 Club International Series.
Maguire will line up in the front row with Derham anchoring the scrum at number eight with both players making their debut at this level.
It follows impressive seasons to date in AIL Division 1B as they currently sit second in the table after 11 rounds of matches.
They did fall to table-toppers last weekend to drop six points off the pace but, nonetheless, look well placed to be in range of the promotion playoffs this term with eight wins out of 11 thus far.
Highfield had marginally the better of the opening exchanges although both sides lost a line out each in the first 10 minutes. Wesley did take the lead through a well struck Rory Stynes penalty kick.
Straight from the restart, Wesley put in their best move of the day. A typical Tom Kiersey chip kick was gathered by himself on halfway and a perfectly timed pass found Tommy O’Callaghan in space.
O’Callaghan, still with a lot of work to do, opened the throttle, sprinting over 40 metres to score a try mid way between the posts and the touchline. Stynes converted and Wesley held a rather flattering 10-0 lead.
Highfield fought back and got on the board when they opted for a scrum rather than a penalty and, after some good carries, winger Ben Murphy crossed for a try.
Stynes, in reply, extended the Wesley lead with a penalty kick. But, as half-time approached, Highfield added a penalty and another scrum-option saw the hosts maul over the line for a 13-12 half-time lead.
Right from the restart Highfield, looked to have upped a gear, putting the Wesley line-out under pressure.
From quickly recycled ball, out half Shane O’Riordan crossed under the posts for a converted try. At this stage there was nearly a game changing event when referee Chris Busby went down with a leg injury. However both team’s physios came to the rescue and he was able to continue.
The hosts survived a yellow card sin-binning and, with 20 minutes to go, any chance of a Wesley win was disappearing fast. While a penalty chance was missed and Iain McGann stole the ball on his own try-line, Highfield kept coming and got back up to the Wesley line.
The ball then went wide for Murphy to score his second try in the corner. To rub salt in the wound the conversion was successful and a 27-13 scoreline was confirmed.