Under-14s completed first leg on famous day
The Wexford Wanderers Under-14s were in Donnybrook early on Bank Holiday Monday before the Under-15s' Cup derby clash with Gorey to settle the destination of the Under-14 Leinster Plate.
Wanderers 22 Longford 10
The game started with the well-drilled Wanderers side opening the scoring in sunny but windy conditions after four minutes when prop Ben Popplewell crashed over the line for an unconverted try.
Ten minutes later lightning-fast wing forward Paul Deeny stripped the Longford defence to score in the corner to extend the lead to 10-0 in a contest where kickers were not getting a good rate of return.
Longford for most of the first period struggled with the intensity of the Wexford side and were lucky to be only trailing by 10-0 at the break.
In the second period Wanderers extended the lead with winger David Cantwell finding the space out wide after a quick distribution of the ball to score in the corner. On this occasion centre Fernando Carrasco added the conversion (the only kicked points of the contest) to give Wanderers a 17-0 lead.
Longford, however, rose from their slumber and scored a quick try in reply before adding a second midway through the half. These happened at a tense time for Wexford who opted to run a penalty in front of the posts with less than five minutes remaining rather than taking the safe option, not helping the blood pressure of head coach Aidan Buckley.
However, his side did alright as they managed to score a late try from Deeny to leave a final score of 22-10 for the opening half of a memorable day at Donnybrook for Wanderers.
Team: Ben Popplewell, Eoin Ryan, Lenny Burke, Euan MacLaughlin, Paul Deeny, Eoin Foley (capt.), Jim McDermott, Killian Boggan, Lochlann McCormack, Donal Buckley, Conor Doyle, Fernando Carrasco, Daniel Bent, David Cantwell, Cillian Corkery. Subs. - Cian Connolly, Aron McKeown, Darragh Byrne, Louis Gainfort, Stuart Hession, Kealan Fikentscher.
Meanwhile, Wexford Wanderers Under-18s travelled to neutral Athy to face a strong Tullamore side in the final of the Leinster Cup.
After their historic league winning match in Donnybrook two weeks ago, the pressure was always going to be on them to replicate the success.
Wanderers started the contest well with a Tullamore error offering centre Richie Waters the opportunity to open the account which he duly did from the penalty tee.
Moments later team captain Shea Boggan crossed for a try which Waters converted to give Wexford a 10-0 lead.
Tullamore, however, seemed to be spurred into action and responded with two converted tries before the break to lead 14-10 before Waters added another penalty to leave the narrowest of gaps at the interval (14-13).
In the second period the opening ten minutes saw sustained Tullamore pressure which yielded a penalty to extend their lead. Wexford broke out and from a penalty Waters added a further three points to reduce the margin again to one and to increase the tempo further.
A further Tullamore infringement yielded another three points for Waters and placed Wexford back in front by two points for the first time since midway through the first-half with just three minutes left.
Tullamore, however, had one last fight left in them and managed to turn over a maul inside Wexford's half before scoring an unconverted try in the corner to lead by three.
In the final minute, try as they might, Wexford just couldn't make the breakthrough and heartbreakingly the final score was 22-19 to Tullamore.
The Wexford players can hold their heads high though as they kept the best until last as this was certainly the most exciting game witnessed this season.
Team: Seán Redmond, Kevin Redmond, Robbie Cullen, Kian Kehoe, Eanna Cleary, Vincent Carroll, Chris Vickery, Ben Moore, Alex Ryan, Ciarán Joyce, Callum Murphy, Shea Boggan (capt.), Richie Waters, Jack Moore, Aron O'Neill.