Wanderers forge vital win

Published 23/01/2016 | 00:00

The Wexford Wanderers Senior men's XV hosted Balbriggan on Sunday at a rain-sodden Park Lane. Both sides came into the game looking for maximum points as the race for final league places and the play-offs beckon.

Wexford Wanderers 21 Balbriggan 15

The visitors were first out of the blocks with a penalty kick within the opening five minutes. In a fairly even battle it took Wexford a further 20 minutes before Colm O Corcora managed to open their account with a penalty to even the scoreline.

Balbriggan shot back on the cusp of the interval with a breakaway try from their own half after a period of sustained pressure and were 10-3 ahead at the break.

In the second-half Wanderers opened the scoring with another penalty from O Corcora, but almost from the re-start Balbriggan managed to score their second try in the corner to extend their lead.

Wanderers dug deep though and, after some good movement, flying winger Liam Barry managed to leave the visitors' back line for dead and cross for a try to once again close the gap. At this stage the game was developing into a real battle and after some brilliant attacking play Wanderers were awarded a penalty try which O Corcora converted after Balbriggan consistently collapsed a five-metre scrum.

The attritional nature of the contest continued unabated and the latter half of the second period was characterised by long stoppages as the referee worked to restore order. Before the final whistle O Corcora added a third penalty to extend the lead to 21-15 in a memorable win.

Some outstanding performances were witnessed across the park from many Wexford players. Corey Carty put in a sterling shift at out-half in his first appearance in this position and made an excellent break close to the final whistle but was unfortunately unable to release the pass to the supporting runner.

Up in the forwards the youthful exertions of players such as Kevin Birney, Luke Roche and Tom Brennan were matched by the experienced wiles of players like John Rowe, John Turner and the ever-shrewd Aidan Stewart.

Next up for Wanderers is a trip to Athy on Sunday in a must-win encounter where the second-placed home side face the third-placed visitors. This will be the third meeting of the sides this season with the previous two encounters at Park Lane going Wexford's way with the closest of scorelines.

Indeed, it will be a surreal encounter as the following weekend Wanderers will face Athy for a fourth time in the opening round of the Provincial Towns Cup. For the details of what is happening in the club, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Team: John Rowe, Kevin Birney, James Byrne, John Turner, Tom Brennan, Aidan Stewart, Luke Roche, Darragh Keogh, Michael Bolger, Corey Carty, Robert Kenny, Colm O Corcora, Seán O Corcora (capt.), Liam Barry, Paul Gannon. Subs. - Tom Barry, Thomas Furlong, Noel Richards, Richie Morris, Willie Morris.

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