Wex­ford claim big scalp

Wexford People - - SPORT -

THE WEX­FORD Wan­der­ers first XV trav­elled to a damp and cold Port­laoise on Sun­day to face joint lead­ers Port­laoise in Le­in­ster League Di­vi­sion 2A.

The ta­ble had Port­laoise, Cill Dara and Clon­dalkin all in joint lead, two points ahead of Wan­der­ers in a fix­ture both sides needed to win to keep their re­spec­tive ti­tle am­bi­tions alive and to hope­fully land a knock­out blow against one of the other main con­tenders.

The game started with Wan­der­ers play­ing some hard and ag­gres­sive rugby, but the home side scored first when one of the Port­laoise cen­tres in­ter­cepted a pass in mid­field to score un­der the posts with just five min­utes gone.

Wex­ford did not get on the score­board un­til nearly the halfhour mark when out-half Stafford pun­ished Port­laoise in­dis­ci­pline in one of the rare penal­ties awarded against the home side.

Five min­utes later, and with the ice bro­ken, Wan­der­ers’ leg­endary prop Ai­dan Ste­wart crossed the line af­ter a good pe­riod of steady phase play by the vis­i­tors to give his side a one-point lead.

On the stroke of half-time how­ever, Wan­der­ers’ man of the match, hooker Gra­ham Grant, burst across in the corner to ex­tend the score at the in­ter­val to 13-7 in favour of Wex­ford.

In the sec­ond pe­riod both sides bat­tled for 20 min­utes be­fore Port­laoise scored an un­con­verted try to nar­row Wan­der­ers’ lead to one point.

Five min­utes later cen­tre Shea Bog­gan with some quick and clever think­ing pun­ished the Port­laoise back line’s flat de­fence by grub kick­ing the ball through them and col­lect­ing him­self to score in the corner.

Port­laoise, how­ever, con­tin­ued to bat­tle and scored a con­verted try near the posts af­ter sus­tained pres­sure on the Wex­ford line to again re­gain the lead.

Grant con­cluded mat­ters with his sec­ond try in the 77th minute af­ter he broke from the half­way line along the right wing. The fi­nal score line was 23-19 in favour of the vis­i­tors.

The re­sult moved Wan­der­ers up to third, with Clon­dalkin two points in front and Cill Dara one point ahead of them. Port­laoise drop to fourth, two points be­hind Wex­ford in what is the tight­est con­test in Le­in­ster this sea­son.

Next up for Wex­ford is the visit of New Ross in the lo­cal derby fix­ture which also dou­bles up as the South-East League semi-fi­nal. There will also be the added in­cen­tive of sil­ver­ware, with the an­nual Tal­bot/Bran­don Cup up for grabs, and hold­ers Wex­ford will not want to re­lin­quish it or the place in a South-East fi­nal with­out a sig­nif­i­cant fight.

Kick-off next Sun­day is 2.30 p.m. and your sup­port will be ap­pre­ci­ated.

Wex­ford: Seán Red­mond, Gra­ham Grant, Ai­dan Ste­wart, John Turner, Dar­ragh Ke­hoe (capt.), Tom Bren­nan, Luke Roche, Bobby Clancy, Ste­wart Ryan, Seán Stafford, Richie Wa­ters, Shea Bog­gan, Seán O Cor­cora, Liam Barry, Eoin Roche. Subs. - Barry Ryan, Kyle Roche, Vin­cent Car­roll, Calum Mur­phy, Paul Gan­non.

Other re­sults: Di­vi­sion 2A, New Ross 18, Rail­way Union 20; Sec­onds league (J2), Di­vi­sion 2A, New Ross 15, Rail­way Union 26.

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