Wicklow Under-18s see off Enniscorthy challenge
RUGBY SOUTH EAST LEAGUE
Wicklow 29, Enniscorthy 10: Wicklow entertained Enniscorthy U-18s on Saturday last and had to work hard to overcome the determined Wexford side in this South East League match.
Wicklow started well enough and after a good scrum John Campbell scored from the ensuing ruck. However, this seemed to spur the visitors on and when Wicklow failed to clear the ball after a penalty attempt by Enniscorthy the visitors moved the ball wide for their winger to score.
Wicklow showed all the signs of not having played a match for four weeks with slow enough reactions, poor tackling and the rucking was not up to their usual standard. Enniscorthy took the lead when Wicklow again failed to clear the ball properly, which eventually led to their second try.
Wicklow’s scrum was solid enough with the front three of Johnny Flood, Shaun O’Brien and Stephen Roberts and it was in the forwards that Wicklow eventually regained control of this game.
Although not back to his best yet, Charlie Butterworth put in an enormous amount of work around the field and with good support from Liam Gaffney, Kyle Warren and John Campbell Wicklow worked their way up field.
Some good work by the Wicklow backs involving James Kilgannon and Garrett Kinnane enabled Ray Hurley to make a break deep into the Enniscorthy 22 and from the following ruck Dennis Higgins sent the ever present John Jenkinson under the posts for the first of his two tries. Dennis converted to leave the half-time score 12-10 in Wicklow’s favour.
In the second-half Wicklow raised their game and with Simon Breen ensuring Wicklow stayed on the offensive with some neat kicking Wicklow pressurised their opponents.
A good line-out ball taken on by the pack led to Shaun O’Brien going over for a try out wide.
Wicklow continued to press and Ben Armstrong who had been playing well was unlucky not to score when a long pass to him by Charlie Butterworth was judged to have been forward. Some good work by Killian O’Mahony and Timmy O’Donovan put Wicklow on the attack again and after a nice break by Dennis Higgins was well supported by the energetic Eddie Downes who in turn sent Charlie Butterworth under the posts to score.
Jamie Clarke came on and put in a great tackle to stop a dangerous looking attack by the Enniscorthy winger. David Acres was very solid at full-back and cleared his lines at every call. Aaron Keogh got in some good tackles when he came on which kept Wicklow on the offensive.
To their credit Enniscorthy never gave up and were unlucky not to score when their outstanding number eight knocked the ball on close to the Wicklow line. Wicklow’s last score was started when Roland Vilcuks cleaned up a scrappy ball which was kicked down field by Simon Breen and when Seán Doyle chased up putting the Enniscorthy winger under pressure Wicklow were awarded a penalty and the quick thinking John Jenkinson took a quick tap and crashed over for his second try.
Wicklow’s Leinster League semi-final will be played on Saturday the 28th as the other quarter-final takes place on Saturday next.
Wicklow are likely to play the winners of Naas and Tullamore. If Wicklow are to progress to the final a huge improvement all round is required by every member of this squad.
Charlie Butterworth in action for Wicklow Under-18s against Enniscorthy