Wicklow battle hard but Carlow take the spoils
WICKLOW entertained Carlow in the second round of the cup on Sunday. From the off the Wicklow pack had the upperhand on their much bigger opponents. The Wicklow pack led by captain Shane Carroll tore into the Carlow pack.
Their technique had Jason Byrne finding his jumpers Daniel O’Brien, Eoin O’Sullivan, and Jamie O’Boyle every time. Shane Byrne, Shane Carroll, and Dominic Sheehy had their men in the right place every time. Judd Byrne was a constant threat. This was giving Tom Downes great ball and he flashed it to Ben Porter who had another outstanding game.
Andrew Conway made his usual bursts and was unlucky not to score. Tiernan Verbruggen was solid in defence and with his fast hands he set Wayne Browne and Ryan Donnelly into attack. Gerry Mora Kelly was solid under the high ball and despite pressure returned very well every time. In the first half Carlow had no answer to the Wicklow pack who took four strikes against the head and were rewarded for their massive work rate when Jason Byrne scored under the posts. Ben Porter converted to add to the penalty he scored earlier.
The Carlow backs were sharp and punished the only mistakes Wicklow made with two break away tries to leave the score 14 points to 10 at half time. Wicklow upped the pressure in the second half but the Carlow defence was resolute and disciplined only giving away one penalty which Ben Porter slotted over to set up a grandstand finish with the score now 14 points to 13.
Try as they might Wicklow could not get over the Carlow line. They then lost Jason Byrne through injury and despite a broken nose Andrew Boyce had a great game in the front row. With five minutes left Carlow broke from their 22 and scored under the posts and converted. Wicklow dug even deeper and Ben Porter scored wide on the left.
As the conversion shaved the post the ref blew the final whistle and all of Carlow breathed a massive sigh of relief. This was some game of rugby and well done to both teams but Wicklow were unlucky not to claim the scalp of the Leinster finalists.
Wicklow U15 SEL Gorey 25 Wicklow 14
It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for the Wicklow Under 15 squad. On Thursday evening news filtered through that Athy could not fill our Leinster League semi final fixture giving Wicklow a walk-over into the Leinster League final which will be played in late March against Navan who are the North-East champions.
This news was met with mixed emotions as the clash with the midlands side was eagerly awaited. Then on Saturday morning in an early kickoff the squad suffered their first competitive defeat of the season in a hastily re-arranged South East league match against a much improved Gorey in Clonattin.
Wicklow paid the price of a slow start allowing Gorey in for twp simple tries in the first 10 minutes of the match. So Gorey were 10 points ahead before Wicklow really started to play. The visitors were justly rewarded on the 20 minute mark when outhalf Shane Farrar crossed for a try which he converted himself to put Wicklow well back into the match at 7-10. However, just before half time Wicklow were delivered a double blow when first they lost Farrar though injury and immediately afterwards and just on the stroke of halftime Gorey crossed for a third try putting 10 points between the two sides at the break.
Wicklow played much better in the second half. Winger, Kurt Greene scored a well taken try after gathering a chip ahead. Michael Neiland converted. However, all through the match whenever Wicklow got within striking distance the home team were able to deliver a further blow and this time it was the Gorey pack who powered their way over the line for the decisive score.
Jason Byrne of Wicklow goes over for a try during the U-17 game against Carlow.