Another win for Wicklow
WICKLOW’S FIRST team won their fourth game in a row with a hard-fought win away to the West Offaly Lions in the Leinster League on Saturday. This was a tough trip for an absolute must win game for Wicklow as they continue to pull away from the relegation dogfight in the lower half of the table.
The trip to Ferbane, which is almost in Galway, clearly took it out of the players who were slow to get into the game. Wicklow lost the toss and played with the wind in the first half. The pitch was in poor condition and not conducive to running rugby.
Wicklow soon had West Offaly under pressure but they were a little over eager and failed to convert their chances. Wicklow had plenty of possession and territory but they were unable to turn this pressure into points. At times West Offaly looked dangerous and almost put their pacy winger away on a couple of occasions with well placed cross kicks. As half-time approached Wicklow were getting bogged down in a dogfight and looked under pressure.
The first half remained scoreless and things looked a little ominous for Wicklow when West Offaly got the first points of the game with a penalty to give them a 3-0 lead. Wicklow were struggling with the referee’s interpretation at the break down and the penalty count against them was costing them dearly. Wicklow were stung into action by the West Offaly score and worked their way upfield. A strong break by the excellent Noel Green saw the ball moved wide. Daniel Mannion got the ball 20 metres out and did really well to get over in the corner for a crucial try. Barry Lynn added a superb conversion and Wicklow led 7-3 ten minutes into the second half.
Five minutes later Wicklow were back on the attack. Bizarrely Wicklow’s first penalty of the afternoon was awarded after 55 minutes of play. The ball was kicked to the corner and a well executed catch and drive saw Seán O'Brien score a try. Another difficult conversion from Barry Lynn extended Wicklows lead to 14.
West Offaly to their credit didn't let their heads drop and continued to attack. Wicklow’s defence which had been a little shaky in the first half was superb in the second period. Wave after wave of West Offaly attacks were driven back and despite plenty of possession and territory they never looked like scoring. Best for Wicklow on the day were Noel Green, Barry Lynn, Barry Hurley and Daniel Mannion.
This was another good win for Wicklow that will go a long way towards securing a place in Division 1B for next season. Barry Hurley’s men are now ten points clear of Portarlington with three games to go. Wicklow’s three remaining games are all very difficult with a tough away trip to Enniscorthy next Sunday followed by league leaders Garda in Wicklow and another away trip to Tullow. Wicklow also have a second round in the Towns Cup to look forward to with an away trip to Mullingar.
Wicklows seconds had no game this weekend and are away to Enniscorthy next Sunday with Kick off at 1.30 p.m.
Wicklow: T O'Donovan, S O'Brien, P Jameson, Noel Greene, Liam Hughes, R Monahan, J Jenkinson, B Hurley, A Byrne, R Hurley, C Sillery , D Mannion , Barry Lynn, Russell Andrew, Jack Dunne, Subs Paul Hodgkinson, S Byrne, S Norton, B Armstrong, R Nolan