Leaders in good form
Scorthy’s first loss
Enniscorthy's unbeaten run in Leinster League Division 1A came to an end on Saturday when they went down to leaders Malahide in Estuary Road 15-9.
Malahide 15 Enniscorthy 9
It was the proverbial game of two halves with the home team on top in the opening 40 minutes and Enniscorthy best in the second period. It was an excellent game played at a terrific pace between the two best teams in the division, and there was very little between them at the end.
Enniscorthy won an early penalty after just three minutes which Ivan Poole converted. Malahide moved the ball with ease as Enniscorthy struggled to get some quality ball, and but for some terrific defending they would have conceded earlier than they did on the 18th minute.
Malahide moved the ball wide to right wing Marcus McAllister to eventually touch down in the corner although Hughie O'Neill made a valiant attempt to prevent the score which made it 5-3. Out-half Conail Keane, the former Old Belvedere player, missed the conversion.
Enniscorthy thought they had scored when a brilliant kick through from Arthur Dunne was chased by Nick Doyle and it did appear as if the number 8 got the ball down, but the referee felt otherwise.
Keane added a penalty and a brilliant Ross Barbour tackle on McAllister prevented another home try just before the break.
Joe Carley replaced Joe Bulmer at half-time and the young second row had a massive game. Enniscorthy were now getting a lot more possession but Malahide's defence was excellent.
Enniscorthy really got on top in the scrums and so much so that they won seven penalties, but frustratingly the referee did not take action. Enniscorthy's consistent pressure did tell and Ivan Poole kicked two penalties from in front of the posts to put the minimum between them.
They got very close to scoring on several occasions but their usual fluency was missing and they butchered a couple of real scoring chances as they camped inside the Malahide half.
Just on full-time Malahide won a penalty inside their own '22 and Keane drove the ball down the field. Enniscorthy ran it back but John Shine turned the ball over and a superb kick from the out-half Keane found McAllister who crossed in the corner.
Again Enniscorthy protested to the referee as there was blatant blocking on David O'Dwyer when the try was scored. Keane missed the conversion.
Enniscorthy were not finished and a despairing tackle from Ciarán Clifford on Hughie O'Neill prevented what looked like being a try.
The home team held out for a crucial win to preserve their unbeaten run and they are now four points ahead of Enniscorthy at the top of the table. Enniscorthy suffered a further blow during the game when Angelo Todisco picked up a serious leg injury and it looks as if he will be out for a while.
'The lads are disappointed because they did not play as well as they can, but to be fair Malahide are a fine team,' manager David Wrafter said.
'We did butcher some scoring opportunities, no question, but Malahide also missed some chances too. We were very disappointed with some decisions the referee made, and if the Nick Doyle touchdown had have been given I am convinced we would have gone on and won.
'I am not moaning about the referee, but wasn't it strange that the team that had their forwards pushed all over the field won the match?
'We are now at the halfway point in the league and there is still a lot of rugby to be played, but Malahide have put themselves in prime position to win it now but we won't concede our title yet.
'The lads would like to wish Angelo a speedy recovery from his injury,' he added.
Enniscorthy's eight forwards were superb and for once in a game they eclipsed their backs who generally had an off day by their own high standards. The scrum was magnificent and the line-out was really proficient although they lost one in their own half which resulted in the opening McAllister try.
Team: Angelo Todisco (Tony White, 72), Davy Murphy, Paddy Waters, Tomás Stamp, Joseph Bulmer (Joe Carley, HT), Tom Ryan, Greg Jacob, Nick Doyle, Arthur Dunne, Ivan Poole, Hughie O'Neill (David O'Dwyer, 70), Daniel Pim (capt.), Killian Lett, Ivan Jacob, Ross Barbour.