Monday 11 December 2017

Athy get verdict in Towns Cup dress rehearsal

The Wexford Wanderers Senior men's XV travelled to Athy on Sunday for the third meeting of the sides this season.

Athy 11 Wexford Wanderers 5

In the previous two outings at Park Lane in October and November, Wanderers took the honours on scorelines of 17-14 and 19-12 respectively, so last Sunday's encounter was always going to be a tough ask, with Athy looking to exact some level of revenge for the previous two defeats.

The game started well for the travelling Wexford side, with early pressure seeing play lodged within the Athy half, before the home side manage to weather the onslaught.

The first score was a long time in coming and it went to Athy who managed to slot a penalty over after some indiscipline offered them the opportunity to kick for the posts.

The game was a very stop-start affair with the referee penalising both sides for ongoing infringements.

The only difference was that Athy's penalty opportunities were within kicking range whereas Wanderers were further out, limiting the options to obtaining field position or setting up phases. On the stroke of half-time Athy converted their second penalty to lead 6-0 at the interval in a very evenly-matched contest.

At the start of the second period it was Wanderers time to feel sustained pressure as Athy pressed for the next score to climb further in front.

After a missed penalty, Athy managed to stretch the Wanderers backs to score a try in the corner which went unconverted.

Indeed, for kickers it was not a pleasant afternoon with a strong wind affecting the destination of all but the simplest of kicks. Wanderers emptied the bench and managed with less than ten minutes remaining to cross for the all-important unconverted try which was scored by wily winger Noel Richards after ten to 15 minutes of sustained forwards pressure.

Athy pushed for one final score which eluded them before the final whistle blew (11-5). The biggest thing about this encounter is the fact that next Sunday both sides have to do it all over again as Wanderers host Athy in the opening round of the Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup.

Based on the form of both sides, the match is sure to be highly competitive as both will have an excellent chance to proceed to the second round.

Kick-off at Park Lane will be 2.30 p.m. and your support for what is the premier competition in Leinster rugby would be greatly appreciated.

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

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