McLaughlin steers Old Wesley to Division Three title

Corinthians 12 Old Wesley 30

Corinthians 12 Old Wesley 30

Old Wesley won the battle of the two promoted sides in this 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.

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

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

Bearded scrum half Paul Campbell scampered over for the first after only nine minutes, with his half-back partner 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 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 then chipped ahead and won the race for the touchdown.

That was a great try but it was nothing compared to the one he 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 Aurelian 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 at the presentation.

Scorers:

Corinthians: Tries: Cian Begley, Aurelian Casanova; Con: Wayne Williams

Old Wesley: Tries: Paul Campbell, Alan Thompson, Barry McLaughlin 2; Cons; David Smith 2; Pens: David Smith 2

HT: Corinthians 5 Old Wesley 15

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