An­other win for Wick­low

Bray People - - SPORT -

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

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