Ashbourne’s big loss in f
ASHBOURNE have long since given up hope of retaining their Leinster League Division 1A title this season, but their fate was sealed mathematically when going down heavily to their likely successors in Enniscorthy last Saturday.
The away side did not get any festive cheer at the Wexford venue, although the final score is misleading as it was a close affair until the home side put the game to bed in the last quarter.
Ashbourne played well in the first half and were asked to defend for long periods of time against the runaway leaders. The visitors were missing a few regulars but still had a strong side out and were looking to take something out of the game.
Both sides played good rugby, with Enniscorthy moving the ball well across their backline where they have real strength. Ashbourne defended well, however, and though under pressure they did not seem troubled by it.
It took until the 20th minute for Enniscorthy to get the breakthrough as a miss-pass to the right created space for their winger to get in for an unconverted try.
Enniscorthy added two more penalties in the half, but Ashbourne were still in it and when the home side got a red card for a no-arm tackle on Jake Wall it was a potential turning point. Donal Crotty converted the penalty and Ashbourne went into the break 11-3 behind.
Instead of Ashbourne pushing on after the restart, though, 14-man Enniscorthy lifted their game. They stuck early from the kicking tee with three points.
Connolly responded with a well-worked Ashbourne try from an extended period of pressure, showing great pace and strength to score and leave his team trailing by just six points - 14-8.
However, the last 20 minutes