In­juries cost­ing Wicklow dear

Resur­gent Car­low take scalp

Bray People - - SPORT -

WICKLOW trav­elled to Car­low at the week­end to take on a resur­gent side that have won three games in a row.

Wicklow were al­ready ham­pered by in­jury and lack of avail­abil­ity to sev­eral key play­ers and trav­elled a lit­tle short on con­fi­dence hav­ing lost the open­ing two games of 2013.

De­spite this they were de­ter­mined to get things back on track ahead of next week's cru­cial Pro­vin­cial Towns Cup game away to Sk­er­ries.

Wicklow got off to the worst pos­si­ble start when from the kick off Liam Fen­ton went over on an an­kle and had to be re­placed af­ter 30 sec­onds. Stu­art Dono­hoe who played the en­tire game for the sec­onds re­placed him and had a fan­tas­tic game on the flank.

Car­low started strongly and put Wicklow un­der some pres­sure. The first try of the game came 10 min­utes in, when Wicklow tried to move the ball on their own 10 yard line. Car­low sec­ond row Wes Shirley in­ter­cepted the pass and scored be­neath the posts. The sim­ple con­ver­sion made it 7-0.

Wicklow fought their way back into the game and worked their way up the pitch. They got into scor­ing po­si­tion on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions but ev­ery time they were un­done by a sim­ple mis­take or by con­ced­ing a penalty. Wicklow lacked pa­tience on a day when it was re­quired to break down a tough Car­low de­fence.

Car­low soaked up the Wicklow pres­sure and the scored a sec­ond break­away try just be­fore half time. A spec­u­la­tive kick ahead was gath­ered by their speedy winger Ian Costi­gan who scored out wide. The con­ver­sion was missed and Car­low went in at the break with a healthy 12 - 0 lead.

Wicklow turned around with the breeze at their backs. They got off to a de­cent start when Ben Porter kicked a penalty to nar­row the gap to 12-3. Un­for­tu­nately Car­low scored a third try shortly af­ter­wards from a driv­ing maul off a close in li­ne­out. Wicklow will be deeply dis­ap­pointed they failed to stop the Car­low maul be­fore it gained mo­men­tum. The con­ver­sion made it 19-3 with 20 min­utes to go and Wicklow looked dead and buried .

To their credit Wicklow fi­nally woke up and be­gan to play some rugby. Firstly they were awarded a penalty which Ben Porter con­verted to bring the score to 19-6.

Wicklow be­gan to ruck with in­ten­sity and played it fast and loose for the fi­nal twenty min­utes. They had a num­ber of scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties but failed to get over the white­wash un­til the fi­nal minute when a su­perb Mark Hig­gins cross kick was gath­ered by Ben Man­gan who beat his man to score a well taken try. The con­ver­sion from Ben Porter brought the score to 19-13.

De­spite show­ing plenty of fight­ing spirit in the sec­ond half, Wicklow were very dis­ap­pointed af­ter the game.

Car­low were a far stronger side than that which Wicklow beat ear­lier in the sea­son. Wicklow were miss­ing seven first team squad mem­bers which made it very dif­fi­cult in terms of strength and con­ti­nu­ity. De­spite this Wicklow felt they should have been ca­pa­ble of get­ting a re­sult. Stu­art Dono­hoe de­serves a spe­cial men­tion hav­ing to come on 30 sec­onds into the firsts' game to re­place the in­jured Liam Fen­ton. Stu­art had al­ready played a full game for the sec­onds and put in an out­stand­ing tack­ling per­for­mance in both games.

The team needs to put the last few weeks be­hind them and look to­wards next week's fix­ture away to Sk­er­ries in the Pro­vin­cial Towns Cup on Sun­day at 2.30pm.

Sk­er­ries have ap­par­ently put to­gether a strong team over the last few weeks with pacy backs and a good kicker.

Wicklow they know they won't have it easy in Sk­er­ries but on their day they know they are ca­pa­ble of beat­ing any­one. This team needs your sup­port on the day. Kick-off is at 2.30pm in Sk­er­ries.

Wicklow: Simon Dunne, Stephen Roberts, Paddy Jame­son, Noel Greene, Ro­nan Mon­a­han, Liam Fen­ton, Michael Doyle, Barry Hur­ley, Dennis Hig­gins, Mark Hig­gins, Rus­sell An­drew, Ken Copeland, Ben Man­gan, Ally Byrne, Ben Porter. Stu Dono­hue, Niall Doyle, Simon Nor­ton, Karl Townsend

Ro­nan Mon­a­han wins this line out ball for Wicklow against Co. Car­low at the week­end.

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