Poole works his magic
Enniscorthy capture seventh title with late penalty
Ivan Poole's magic boot turned what looked like defeat into victory as his 35-metre kick soared over the crossbar and between the posts to give Enniscorthy a 9-8 lead with just a minute of normal time remaining in Sunday's Provincial Towns Cup final in Cill Dara R.F.C.
Enniscorthy 9 - Kilkenny 8
It was heartbreak for Kilkenny who had also lost the final last year but Enniscorthy were the better team although they failed to nail home their advantage at times. It was their superb disciplined defence that mattered most on a difficult, windy day.
As finals often go it wasn't a good game for spectators as both teams were very cautious and the strong wind didn't help either. Enniscorthy's defence was simply superb all day, particularly in the opening 40 minutes as they had to defend for almost the entire half.
They did however take advantage of a rare visit into Kilkenny territory. Declan O'Brien turned over the ball on half way and Ivan Poole fed Ivan Jacob on the right wing. He made 20 metres, and from the resulting ruck Evan Lett made a break to catch Kilkenny's John Phelan offside. Ivan Poole slotted the kick into the wind for a 3-0 lead.
Kilkenny's out-half Rory McInerney missed an early attempt at the posts and also was narrowly wide with a drop goal effort in the opening ten minutes.
Enniscorthy's defence was outstanding in that opening period as Kilkenny threw everything they had at them.
The forwards as a unit tackled everything that moved and Killian Lett and Daniel Pim were a superb pair in the middle of the field and they played their part as well. Pim was one of the best players on view in both defence and attack.
Evan Lett picked up an injury from his break and was replaced by Hughie O'Neill who moved to the wing as Paul Bolger moved to scrum-half five minutes from the interval.
As the half-time whistle approached, Declan O'Brien was penalised for not rolling away from a tackle and McInerney kicked the penalty to draw the teams level at the interval. Kilkenny would have been disappointed at not being in front as they had 60/40 on the possession graph.
Enniscorthy now had the wind at their backs for the second-half and immediately set about dismantling their opponents and in fact within the space of three minutes Ivan Poole had two penalty opportunities and scored one to put his team 6-3 in front.
Enniscorthy flowed forward but their decision-making at times let them down. Daniel Pim's brilliant work in midfield allowed Poole to put Hughie O'Neill away down the left but he was halted just short of the line.
Kilkenny's defence was now matching Enniscorthy's and they defended like demons. Enniscorthy freshened up their pack with Angelo Todisco and Alan Jacob coming in for Davy Murphy and Tom Ryan respectively.
Killian Lett and Danny Pim continued to punch holes in the Kilkenny defence but the end result was poor.
Enniscorthy won a penalty in the right corner which they decided to run but Kilkenny stopped James Doyle just short of the try line and actually turned over the ball.
They pushed Enniscorthy back up the field and after a couple of giveaway penalties Kilkenny opted for the line-out and from their third attempt they took the ball down and drove towards the Enniscorthy line to eventually touch down the ball for a try.
Referee Tim Townend awarded the score on the advice of his touch judge, John Carey.
Wayne Kavanagh was on the bottom of the pile of bodies to get the vital touch down.
McInerney missed the difficult conversion but the Cats were now 8-6 in front with ten minutes remaining.
Enniscorthy didn't panic and they continued to put the ball through the hands at will. They almost scored a try when Alan Jacob intercepted a loose Dearan McGrath pass but he was stopped just inches short of the line.
The forwards continued to press and Paul Bolger and Ross Barbour almost put Ivan Jacob through the cover but alas he was bundled into touch by Joe Manuel.
The 'Scorthy boys continued to pile forward in search of victory and Tomás Stamp made a burst to the line. Kilkenny strayed offside and Ivan Poole slotted the kick for a crucial one-point lead as the clock ticked down.
He had a further kick in injury time but his effort just strayed wide of the psots and there was a palpable relief amongst the Enniscorthy team and supporters when Towend blew the full-time whistle.
Declan O'Brien's super-human performance won him the coveted man of the match award after he led his troops with tremendous workrate and leadership that belied his years.
He also announced after the game that it was to be his final match and what a way to go out. I.R.F.U. President Louis McGee was on hand to present the Cup to captain Killian Lett and club President Jim McCauley before the celebrations began.
Apart from O'Brien, James Doyle, Tomás Stamp and Timmy Morrissey were superb as were Danny Pim and Paul Bolger, but it was a good, gutsy performance by everybody on the pitch.
Team: Paddy Waters, Davy Murphy (Angelo Todisco), James Doyle, Tomás Stamp, Declan O'Brien, Tom Ryan (Alan Jacob), Timmy Morrissey, Seán Wall (Damian McCabe), Evan Lett (Hughie O'Neill), Ivan Poole, Ivan Jacob, Daniel Pim, Killian Lett (capt.), Paul Bolger, Ross Barbour. Replacements: Robbie O'Connor, Mitchel Dalton, Jack Kelly.
Coaches: Damian McCabe, Mark O'Donoghue, Johnny Murphy, Liam Walsh. Team manager: David Wrafter. Medical: Stellah Sinnott.