Two losses for Wanderers on the road
The Wexford Wanderers first XV travelled to Athy on Sunday in the second round of Division 2B of the Leinster League.
Athy 22 Wexford Wanderers 19
Both sides clashed four times last season with Wanderers shading it by three wins to one, with Athy denying Wanderers on the only trip to the Barrowsiders.
On this occasion Wanderers had a very difficult opening period with Athy using home advantage to create a strong 17-0 lead at the interval.
In the second period the Wexford men struck back with a vengeance, with replacement forward Nick Jones starting the fightback with a great try after the Wexford side moved the ball quickly through the hands.
Approximately 20 minutes later, after a great break from winger Liam Barry, Wanderers switched the point of attack across the full width of the pitch to allow centre Cartaigh Geoghegan cross in the far corner and saunter back under the posts to give replacement back Eoin Roche the easiest of conversions.
With a new-found steel and resolve, Wexford continued to push and some excellent pick and drive play saw Luke Roche make it over the line under the posts and a melee of bodies to equalise the score. Again Roche added the points to give the visiting Wexford side the lead for the first time with the clock heading for the siren.
However, Athy managed to rally again and scored an unconverted try in the corner to regain the lead (22-19) in the dying minutes. Wexford once again pushed for a further score but unfortunately time ran out with Wanderers resident on the Athy try line.
The final score was 22-19, a huge bonus considering the deficit Wanderers had to overcome after a difficult period. Next weekend sees the team take a break before the league action returns to Park Lane on October 16 at 3 p.m. when bottom of the table Athboy come visiting looking for a first win.
Wanderers will have to re-group and re-focus to gain maximum points from the fixture to put the heartbreak of last weekend's loss behind them.
Anyone interested in playing rugby in the Wexford area is welcome to join the club for training on Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30 p.m. For further information in relation to what is happening at your local club, follow the club on Facebook and Twitter or sign up to our weekly newsletter.
Team: Aidan Stewart (capt.), Kevin Birney, Kyle Roche, Chris Walsh, Mossie Earle, Luke Roche, Tom Brennan, Darragh Kehoe, Kevin Roche, Corey Carty, Owen Cardiff, Shea Boggan, Cartaigh Geoghegan, Paul Gannon, Liam Barry. Subs. - Graham Grant, Eoin Roche, Nick Jones, Michael McGuire, Tom Barry.
Athy 28, Wexford Wanderers 26: Wexford Wanderers' second XV travelled to Athy on Sunday in the first match of a double-header with the Barrowsiders.
The game started quite evenly for both sides with Athy getting on the board early with a penalty before out-half Eoin Roche broke through the Athy defence to score under the posts for a converted try.
Athy struck back and scored two unconverted tries before hooker Graham Grant scored a second for Wanderers, with Roche again converting to have the tightest of score lines at 14-13 to Wanderers at the interval.
In the second period Wanderers kept the hammer on despite ringing a number of changes with first man mountain John Rowe crashing over for a try converted by full-back Cousins.
At this stage Wanderers had taken and were holding the ascendancy in the contest and the next score came from debutant prop Bob O'Leary who was the last man up from under the mass of bodies that crossed the line.
Athy, however, managed to rally with first an unconverted try in the corner followed by a penalty try following sustained pressure on the Wanderers line.
Wexford, having dominated throughout, were robbed at the death with Athy slotting a penalty over the posts to leave a final score of 28-26 in an intense and epic game with a heartbreaking finish.
The positives to take out of this fixture, and there were many, included the fact that the team fought for the full 80 minutes and never gave up. The blooding of a number of new and impressive players such as O'Leary and Guerrine in the front row and Smythe, Roche and his replacement Gannon in the back line also was a huge positive from the fixture, as was the performances of Jones, Rowe and Grant.
Next up for Wanderers is the visit of Kilkenny on October 15 at Park Lane. Anyone interested in playing rugby in the Wexford area is welcome to join the club for training on Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30 p.m.