Wick­low se­cure sta­tus with los­ing bonus point

Bray People - - SPORT -

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.

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