Wicklow U-16s are tops in local derby
Wicklow U-16s 21, Rathdrum U-16s 10: Wicklow travelled to Rathdrum on Saturday for the local derby and ended up winners 21 points to 10 in a very hardfought contest in the South East Winter League.
Rathdrum were totally up for this game and scored and converted a great try in the opening minute. Both teams fought for every ball with Rathdrum way faster to the ball on the deck.
Wicklow attacked from every angle but the Rathdrum defence was equal to every test. Rathdrum put together some great attacks and but for some great tackling by Kevin Wylie would have broke the Wicklow line on two more occasions. Wicklow were kicking some ball they should have run, and failing to release the ball in time to release the free man.
Rathdrum were putting ball behind the Wicklow defence which gave Kevin Wylie the opportunity to run, each time making good ground. Judd Byrne and Will O’Reilly tackled everything that moved.
Daniel Mannian led his team from the front. The front five of Andrew Boyce, Jason Byrne, Neill Dickenson, Vincent Gleeson and Killian Heraughty had the Rathdrum scrum under severe pressure.
The backline was working the ball from wing to wing where Ryan Donnelly and Andrew Hanlon were making good breaks.
Stephen Nother and Andrew Conway were attacking and defending well. Ben Porter and Mark Higgins were linking well.
Rathdrum were awarded a penalty 20 minutes into the game and stretched their lead to ten points. Try as they might Wicklow could not break down the Rathdrum defence.
Fifteen minutes into the second-half Shane Carroll replaced Vincent Gleeson. He put in some huge hits around the fringe of the rucks which seemed to unsettle the Rathdrum forwards.
Two plays later Wicklow were awarded a penalty near the half way line. Ben Porter found a good touch on the Rathdrum 22. Daniel Mannian plucked the ball out of the sky and set up the rolling maul. Wicklow drove Rathdrum over the line for Jason Byrne to score.
Ben Porter converted. Wicklow grew and grew in confidence and seven minutes later took the lead when Jason Byrne drove over following some great attacking play by the backs. Ben Porter again converted.
Daniel O’Brien and Shane Byrne replaced Will O’Reilly and Andrew Boyce. Wicklow powered on to the end and with the last move of the game Kevin Wylie left three defenders for dead and was stopped inches from the line. Ben Porter was first up in support and under pressure passed to Judd Byrne who scored under the posts. Ben Porter again converted.
Both teams are to be complimented for a great game. Rathdrum face Edenderry in the Leinster final of their league and we wish them well. Wicklow showed great character in this game and never gave up, overcoming all obstacles. They have a lot more rugby to play this season.