Wyse gets it right just in time
MARK WYSE, unusually erratic in his line kicking earlier in the game, redeemed himself when he converted a last-minute penalty for Wanderers to defeat Blackrock in the Leinster Senior Cup first-round match at Stradbrook yesterday.
Indeed, the game seemed headed for sudden-death extra time until an indiscretion by Blackrock second row Hubie Kos. Twice he handled the ball in the middle of a ruck just outside the 22-metre line. Eventually referee Donal Courtney spotted him and had no option but to give the penalty.
From the outset, this was a torrid affair with the overnight thaw making the ground very heavy. It seemed to draw the life from most players' legs as the game developed into a dogfight.
The line-out quickly became a lottery as jumpers found it difficult to get any leverage. Few two-handed takes and much loose slapped-back ball caused the opposing scrum-halves nightmares all afternoon.
However, both Allain Rolland and Marty Mahon soldiered on regardless, never failing to take advantage of gaps in the opposition defence.
Full-back Gerry Harvey started the game as Blackrock's principal place-kicker, but he had already passed on the responsibility to out-half John McGowan - deputising for his brother Alan - before going off injured in the 35th minute. Substitute Greg O'Suillivan came on at right wing, allowing Aidan Guinan to move across to the full-back berth.
McGowan opened Blackrock's account in the 36th minute with a penalty, after blatant obstruction at a line-out. But chances were few. Defences were on top as the tackling became incessant.
Wanderers' best opportunity to breach the home line in the first half came when Guinan tackled dangerous right wing Colin Leahy with the line beckoning. Minutes later a Wanderers five metres scrum was demolished by the Paul Wallace, Shane Byrne, Paul Flavin front row.
On the turnover, Wyse smashed a 44th minute penalty off the Blackrock crossbar only for Byrne to take a tricky mark on his line.
In the 49th minute successive drives through the middle from Wallace and Byrne took out two Wanderers backs and when Rolland looped a pass to McGowan on the blind side, left wing Rory Kearns acted as a decoy for McGowan to gallop through a huge gap and over the line.
However, Wanderers were undeterred. Marty Mahon's outside break from halfway created a chance that right-wing Leahy was never going to pass up. He easily made it to the right corner.
With former Cork Constitution flanker Ollie Barrett firing up the Wanderers engine room, Wyse made Blackrock pay for obstructing at a line-out by kicking the penalty. And Kos's later indiscretion afforded Wyse to the opportunity to seal victory.