Wicklow edged out in cup dress rehearsal
TULLOW 18 WICKLOW 15
WICKLOW’S FIRSTS warmed up for next weeks crucial Newstalk Towns Cup quarter-final with an away trip to Tullow for the final league game of the year.
Both teams had already secured a mid-table finish in the league and consequently the game was effectively a dead rubber.
Wicklow will play Tullow in the last eight of the oldest competition in Leinster Rugby at Ashtown Lane next weekend. Neither side wanted to give away too much, with Tullow resting virtually their entire starting fifteen, who watched from the sidelines. Wicklow opted not to do the same but the game was a stop-start affair and both teams kept their powder dry to a degree.
Wicklow got off to a better start and had Tullow under pressure. They were rewarded with a try from hooker Seán O'Brien. The conversion was missed but Wicklow led 50. Tullow responded with a penalty to make it 5-3.
The game was very open with too many missed tackles and too many penalties, from Wicklow allowing the Tullow second string to gain a foothold in the Wicklow 22. Eventually Tullow got over for a try to make the score 8-5 in their favour.
Wicklow continued to attack and drew level just before the break with a penalty from Stephen Duffy to make it 8-8 at half-time.
The second half saw Tullow stretch their lead to 18-8 with a second try which was converted and a penalty. Wicklow finished the game off well with a well taken try by John Jenkinson following some good work by Liam Fenton and Barry Hurley.
Tullow are coached by Irish International Seán O'Brien, who let his team have it with both barrels on the final whistle and there is no doubt that he will have his team well firedup when they come to Wicklow next weekend.
Renowned cup specialists Tullow, have been in a rich vein of form of late and will start the game as favourites despite being away from home. Wicklow are missing a number of key players through injury and unavailability. Despite this they have a fantastic young squad and if they play to their potential as they did against Garda two weeks ago they know they are a match for any team.
Tullow are travelling up in confidence and are bringing a bus load of supporters to cheer their team on. Wicklow RFC need all of their supporters to come along on the day and to get behind this fine side captained by Barry Hurley and coached by Barry Lynn.
Wicklow: P Jameson, S O'Brien, Timmy Donovan, John Jenkinson, Ronan Monahan, Paul Hodgkinson, Liam Fenton, Barry Hurley, A Byrne, S Duffy, S Breen, Chris McKeown, Chris Sillery, J Dunne Subs, Robert Hopkins, D Quinn S Norton, R Nolan, John Kearney, Barra Kuntz.
Tullow 2nd XV 20, Wicklow 2nd XV 39: Wicklow seconds travelled to Tullow to take on a tough side in the final game of the league campaign. Wicklow put in a fine performance on the day to put Tullow to the sword. In the process they overhauled the home side in the league table to finish in fourth place in the overall.
Ben Armstrong kicked two penalties and scored a try before further tries from Ian Lavelle and Niall Kearney put them almost out of sight. Wicklow led by 25-6 before they took the foot off the gas and let in two tries. With the gap narrowed to just five points Wicklow finished off in style with two fine tries from Ian Lavelle and David Doyle to leave the final score at 20-39. Best for Wicklow on the day were Simon Norton, Barra Kuntz and David Doyle.
Wicklows seconds are looking forward to welcoming an impressive Portlaoise side to Ashtown Lane for the second round of the cup which takes place this Saturday at 3 p.m. Portlaoise seconds won the league and are looking to do the double but Wicklow will have no fear of them having run them very close in the away league game earlier in the season.
Wicklow captain Barry Hurley in action against Tullow (Photo: Leanne O’Sullivan).