West Offaly Lions from Ferbane produced a wonderful disciplined display against a much bigger Wicklow RFC team at the Leinster U-16 finals held in Mullingar on St Patrick’s Day
Going behind by seven points in early stages, they got themselves back in the game with an opportunistic try by scrum half Conor Reams which was converted by fullback, Adam O’Carroll.
Conor Polland then got a nice try after some great teamwork which left the score at 12-7 at half time.
In the second half, West Offaly were playing against a strong wind and Wicklow threw everything at them but they held out with some spectacular tackling, especially in the wide channels where Paddy Taaffe, Adam O’Carroll, Adam Greene, David Doonican and James Buckley made some fine last gasp tackles.
The forwards were excellent at the rucks and made life difficult for Wicklow, particularly joint captain Luke Balsiger, hooker Shane Berry and No. 8 Conor Polland as well as John Doonican, Fergal Bracken and Seamas Daly who did a lot of the hard work while Sean Flannery, Cian Boylan, Conor Doonican and Sean Quirke were excellent when introduced.
Eventually Wicklow equalised with four minutes remaining but the missed the conversion to leave in level and heading for a replay.
West Offaly then got possession and brought the ball to the Wicklow 22 and after 17 phases where all 15 players were involved, joint captain Nick Cusack went over for the winning try.
Overall it was a magnificent win for West Offaly against one of the giants of Leinster rugby.
Result - West Offaly Lions RFC 17 Wicklow RFC 12.