Wanderers make sure of second with big win
The Wexford Wanderers first XV hosted Ardee at Park Lane on Sunday in the final round of Division 2B of the Leinster League.
Wanderers 71 Ardee 0
Wanderers came into the game in second place overall with local rivals New Ross all but securing the title the previous week on the back of Wanderers' disappointing 14-14 draw away to Arklow.
This was despite New Ross narrowly losing to third-placed Athy, a result which could have potentially re-opened the title race if the result in Arklow had been different.
Wanderers expected a tough game from Ardee and they certainly got it, despite Wanderers opening the scoring in the sixth minute with outside centre Richie Waters rounding the defence to score under the posts and give himself the easiest of conversions.
It took all of 20 minutes before Wanderers found the next score, with wing forward Cartaigh Geoghegan the one who crashed over to give them a 14-0 lead.
Ardee tried to fight back but Wanderers held firm in defence and the score stayed the same until the interval.
In the second period Wanderers really took the game to Ardee.
First on the scoreboard was scrum-half Brendan Roche who nipped through a gap after just two minutes.
Within a minute of the re-start Geoghegan added his second to double Wanderers' score, before Kehoe added his first again from a sloppy Ardee re-start.
At this stage Wanderers were five tries to the good and had both the match and bonus point secured as they continued to strike on, with first Robbie Casey breaking free to score and then in typical forward fashion replacement No. 8 John Rowe scored from the base of a scrum.
Next up was club Captain Aidan Stewart with a similar forwards-dominated effort, before replacement centre Corey Carty added his first.
Stewart popped up again minutes later in open play to score a Zebo-esque try with an Ardee player left in his wake.
The game at this stage was well over and the only query entering the spectators' minds at this stage was 'by how much' as the score line passed the 50- and 60-point marks.
The last score came from Kehoe who added his second in the closing minute to leave a final outcome of 71-0 to Wexford. The result secured second place in the league overall as New Ross dispatched Arklow at home by 73-7 to secure the title.
However, it was a tight-run thing as a slip-up to Ardee could have been costly as Athy also won which kept the pressure on the Park Lane team right until the end.
At this stage Wanderers are through to the play-off with the team second from bottom of Division 2A. At this stage Roscrea are automatically relegated to Division 2B but the battle to decide who will face Wanderers in the play-off has another act to run, with both Newbridge and Portarlington only separated by three points in the Division 2A table.
Incidentally, both teams face off in the final round of Division 2A tonight (Tuesday), and Wanderers will know their play-off opponents before the weekend.
As it stands Wanderers are scheduled to face Division 2A leaders Longford next weekend in the Towns Plate, but Longford are also scheduled to play Co. Carlow on the same day in a top of the table clash which will decide the fate of the Division 2A title.
Supporters are advised to monitor the club social media outlets for updates on this and other fixtures.
Team: Sená Redmond, Graham Grant, James Byrne, Chris Walsh, John Turner, Luke Roche, Carthaigh Geoghegan, Darragh Kehoe, Kevin Roche, Eoin Roche, Robbie Casey, Shea Boggan, Richie Waters, Liam Barry, Paul Gannon. Subs. - Aidan Stewart, John Rowe, Robbie Kenny, Dave Martin, Corey Carty.