Wicklow secure status with losing bonus point
WICKLOW’S FIRST team travelled to South East rivals Enniscorthy to take on the Wexfordmen in the Leinster League.
Enniscorthy who were in second place in the league table were looking for the win to secure promotion to Division 1. Wicklow whose good run of form had taken them clear of the relegation zone needed to get something from the game to ensure the chasing pack could not drag them back into trouble.
Enniscorthy started like a team that just had to turn up on the day to secure the win. Wicklow hammered into them from the start and dominated in terms of field position and possession. The pack were on top in the opening exchanges and Wicklow were first on the scoreboard with a penalty from Barry Lynn to give them a 3-0 lead.
Wicklow were soon back in Enniscorthy territory and the home side were beginning to panic and continued to infringe at the breakdown. Another superb penalty from Barry Lynn stretched Wicklow’s lead to 6-0.
The first time Enniscorthy managed to work their way into Wicklow territory they got over for a soft try.
Their excellent out half Ivan Poole danced over untouched for a cheap score. The conversion gave the home side a 7-6 lead.
Wicklow attacked again and were awarded another penalty which Barry Lynn duly converted on 33 minutes to give Wicklow the lead at 9-7.
Just before half-time concerted Wicklow pressure forced another penalty. The kick from Barry Lynn dropped short but the Enniscorthy full-back knocked the ball on. Unfortunatley for Wicklow the referee blew up for half-time instead of awarding an attacking scum on the Enniscorthy line. Wicklow led at half-time 9-7 and were happy with the first half performance.
Enniscorthy stepped up a gear in the second half. The referee harshly sin-binned prop Paddy Jameson for handling in a ruck when it seemed clear that the ball was kicked forward by an Enniscorthy boot.
With Wicklow down to 14 men Enniscorthy took full advantage. A knock on gave them field position and again Poole the Enniscorthy out half waltzed through some poor Wicklow tackling for another soft try. The conversion was missed but Wicklow trailed 12-9. Enniscorthy upped the ante again and forced the concession of another penalty. The successful kick stretched their lead to 15-9.
Wicklow to their credit attacked again and reduced the deficit to just three points with another fine kick from the boot of Barry Lynn. As the game entered the last ten minutes Wicklow trailed 15-12. They attacked well but the Enniscorthy defence held firm. Daniel Mannion seemed to have broken through but a last desperate tap tackle brought him down short of the line.
Wicklow did have a penalty kick to draw level but it dropped just short of the posts. Enniscorthy were genuinely lucky to escape with a win on a day when a draw would probably have been a fairer result. Wicklow were desperately disap- pointed but they had the consolation of a losing bonus point which guaranteed their position in Division 1B of the Leinster League for next season.
This has to be viewed as a fantastic success for this young side captained by Barry Hurley and coached by Barry Lynn. They still have the Towns Cup to look forward to with an away trip to Mullingar on March 20th.
Next weekend sees league champions Garda come to Ashtown Lane where Wicklow will look to make amends for a heavy beating which they shipped earlier in the season. The firsts kick-off at 3 p.m. with the seconds at 1.30 p.m.
Wicklow: T O'Donovan, S O'Brien, P Jameson, J Jenkinson, , Liam Hughes, Daniel Mannion, R Monahan, B Hurley, A Byrne, R Hurley,Barry Lynn, Russel Andrew, Jack Dunne, S Duffy, Subs: C Sillery Paul Hodgkinson, S Byrne, S Norton, L Fenton, R Nolan.
Wicklow, who narrowly lost to Enniscorthy in their Leinster League Division 1B match on Sunday.
Wicklow’s John Jenkinson gathers the ball in the line-out.