Superb win for Wicklow
Victory needed after defeat
WICKLOW RFC’S senior men took on a resurgent Kilkenny RFC at Ashtown Lane on Sunday afternoon.
Kilkenny had won three games in a row against Bective Dundalk and Ashbourne in the lead up to this game. Wicklow had a disappointing outing away to league leaders Enniscorthy last weekend and were keen to get things back on track.
The game was played on a gloomy enough afternoon. All the early pressure was from Wicklow but a fired up kilkenny held firm in the opening stages.
After 14 minutes the breakthrough came. A powerful burst by Shane Farrar saw him go close to the line. The ball was recycled, and Simon Breen crashed over in the corner for a good score. The conversion was missed but Wicklow led 5–0.
Kilkenny hit back almost immediately with a well worked try of their own to make it 5–7 after 17 minutes. Wicklow were reduced to 14 men when a mistimed tackle saw Simon Breen go to the bin for ten minutes.
Wicklow scored next when a good break by Luke Gersekowski found Charlie Butterworth in support. The big number eight scored beneath the posts and Niall Earls conversion made it 12–7 to Wicklow.
Wicklow went asleep and allowed Kilkenny to strike back immediately and they went in front 12–14 after 33 minutes.
On the stroke of half-time a concerted period of Wicklow pres- sure yielded a valuable score. Two minutes of battering the Wicklow line in the face of tremendous Kilkenny defence before Niall Earls scythed through the cover on an angled run to score a fine try. His conversion made it 19–14 to Wicklow at the break.
The second half started with Kilkenny on the attack. They forced a penalty, but the kick was pushed narrowly wide.
Soon afterwards replacement full-back Jack Dunne got over for the bonus-point try after excellent work by Wes Wojnar. Earls converted and Wicklow were 26–14 up with 25 minutes left.
Kilkenny threw the Kitchen sink at Wicklow but tremendous Wicklow defence kept them out. Wicklow cleared upfield and forced the concession of another penalty. Niall Earls made no mistake and Wicklow led 29–14 as the game ran into injury time in the gathering darkness.
The final whistle went with Wicklow on the attack in Kilkenny territory. This was a fine win by Wicklow who bounced back well after last week’s disappointing display in Ross Road. The bo- nus-point win secures Wicklow’s position in third place in the league (on 28 points) behind Enniscorthy (38 points) and Gorey (29 points).
The seconds had an important and resounding win against Kilkenny by 53–0 and they will look to build on that result and go in to the Christmas break looking forward to a strong finish to the league and a cup run in the New Year.
Next weekend is a welcome break for the first XV before they take on Enniscorthy for the third time this season in the All-Ireland Cup semi-final on Saturday, December 15.
‘This is an historic game for the club, and we are hoping a large crowd will travel to Ross Road to support the team. Kick-off is at 2pm. The WRFC Christmas party takes place in the clubhouse later that evening,’ said a club spokesperson. WICKLOW: Eddie Downes, Jack McKenna, Neil Dickenson, Brian Shortt, George Naoupu, Wes Wojnar, Luke Gersekowski, Charlie Butterworth, Dennis Higgins, Niall Earls, Simon Breen, Shane Farrar, Billy Ngawini, Ben Armstrong, Ben Porter. Subs: Pablo Castello Vinolo, Brian Shortt Seamus O’Brien, Jack Dunne, Dean Leonard.
Wicklow’s Jack McKenna drives for the Kilkenny line.
Wicklow’s Luke Gersekowski comes under pressure at Ashtown Lane.