It had to happen eventually. Over two seasons unbeaten in a competitive match at home finally came to an end on Saturday as Enniscorthy's first-choice eleven were felled by visitors St. Brendan's Phoenix Park on a 1-0 scoreline.
It was an unhappy outing for the team's new set of jerseys, sponsored by local firm Pure Oil and Lohan and Donnelly Consulting Engineers.
From the start the Enniscorthy men were put under pressure as they struggled to find a footing in the game. Inside the first two minutes the Dublin side found themselves in their opponents' '23, but to the delight - and relief- of the home support the defence of Andrew Rothwell, Keith Ogilvie, Clive Rothwell and Martyn Vietch were able to deal with the attacks.
Goalkeeper Graham Hill was also called upon early on as he cleared a dangerous Brendan's ball right up the pitch, making sure the pressure was firmly taken off his goal. An early short corner for the Dublin side saw the ball find the back of the net but the 'goal' was disallowed as the ball narrowly missed the back board of the net.
With that, Enniscorthy were kicked into action and nearly found the back of the net themselves as a ball up the right wing found Niall Maguire who chipped the ball past the 'keeper but it bounced narrowly wide.
Following a poor first-half performance, Enniscorthy came out strong for the second period, beginning by attacking the flanks of the Phoenix Park side. Clive Rothwell was to the forefront of these efforts, distributing well with a succession of aerials and wide passes to Veitch and Andrew Rothwell, who then pushed ahead in search of forwards Liam Jowett and Daithí Medcalf.
The Dublin side found themselves temporarily down to ten men when Jowett was tripped on a foray into the opposition half, but Enniscorthy were unable to take advantage of their numerical superiority.
Shortly after Enniscorthy were awarded a short corner but were unable to beat the onrushing defence. Enniscorthy weren't the only team winning short corners, as St. Brendan's were awarded two short corners in quick succession, the first of which saw Hill called upon to keep the visitors at bay with a spectacular save.
With their second though, the travelling team managed to squeeze the ball under the diving Hill, and the deadlock was broken.
Enniscorthy had time to find an equaliser and continued to attack with the Chapman brothers, Glenn and Roy, leading by example. The home side battled hard as they went in search of a goal to save their home record.
Ó Súilleabháin came close in the dying minutes but the visiting 'keeper was able to cope with the shot and cleared his lines. The match finished with all three points heading back up the M11, leaving the Enniscorthy side still in search of their first win of the season.
There now follows a welcome break next weekend for Enniscorthy firsts; they take on Suttonians in Dublin on October 31.
Squad: Graham Hill, Andrew Rothwell, Keith Ogilvie, Clive Rothwell, Martyn Veitch, David Simmons, Cathal Ó Súilleabháin, Roy Chapman, Glenn Chapman, Liam Jowett, Daithí Medcalf, Edmundas Liuikimas, Niall Maguire, Jacob English. Coach: Donal Doyle; Manager: Fraser Rothwell.
Enniscorthy ladies' first team had continued their winning streak on Friday week with a 3-0 victory over Kilkenny seconds.
Enniscorthy looked nervous and cagey for the opening 15 minutes with Kilkenny the more confident on the ball. Despite this anxiety among the Enniscorthy players, midway through the first-half pressure on the Kilkenny defence - with midfielders Gemma Kelly and Deirdre Kehoe combining with forwards Lisa Frayne and Sonja Rynhart - was rewarded with Enniscorthy's first short corner.
A short, quick pass from Molly Boyne to captain Lisa Frayne on the side of the semi-circle resulted in a powerful shot from Frayne hitting the backboard, giving Enniscorthy the lead. The Cathedral town side continued to press the Kilkenny defence, but the visitors were dangerous on the break, piling pressure on the Enniscorthy defence, although the line held.
After some much-needed advice and inspirational words at half-time from coach Ivanna Yeats, manager Irene Doyle and captain Lisa Frayne, Enniscorthy returned to the fray with a new sense of determination. However, Kilkenny were not giving in easily and early in the new half a swift counter-attack caught Enniscorthy with numbers high up the pitch and goalie Fiona Rothwell - in her debut season with the club - was left in a one-on-one with the Kilkenny striker, but a massive diving save from Rothwell kept the Cats at bay.
Enniscorthy had some near misses in the second-half; a long sideline ball in by Leah Chapman was narrowly missed by Laura O'Leary, while Serena Hatton carried a great ball into the Kilkenny semi-circle but was unable to execute the shot.
Eventually though, the pressure told. Enniscorthy's second goal came from a reverse stick drive from Sonja Rynhart, who was unlucky not to have a second goal minutes later, when the left wing took a powerful strike on goal but the Kilkenny goalkeeper made her presence felt and blocked the shot.
Shortly after, Rynhart added a second goal to her personal tally when she fired home following a highly-accurate pass from midfielder Gemma Kelly. Enniscorthy continued to press, in search of a fourth, but could not make the most of the short corner that came late in the second-half, Molly Boyne again passing the ball to the dangerous Rynhart who was unable to finish past the Kilkenny goalkeeper.
Squad: Fiona Rothwell, Molly Boyne, Katie Owen, Leah Chapman, Olive Lett, Serena Hatton, Laura O'Leary, Gemma Kelly, Deirdre Kehoe, Sonja Rynhart, Lisa Frayne, Emma Doyle, Nancy Dunphy, Lisa Tyghe, Karri Clifford.
Enniscorthy's men's seconds' poor form at home continued on Saturday week as they fell 1-0 to a talented Clontarf side in the Leinster Minor Cup.
Fraser Rothwell's side came into the clash on the back of an encouraging 3-2 win away to Navan, but the visitors were in a different class to the Meath side. From the off, Clontarf played a high-tempo game which had the Enniscorthy back four of Hawkins, Jordan, Pierce and Ivan Rothwell under considerable pressure.
Clontarf featured several of the side which had drawn 2-2 with Enniscorthy's first team a fortnight earlier, and their verve and invention shone throughout. This only got them so far, however, as Jordan and Pierce swept up a huge amount of ball at the back.
The Wexford men were also noticeably quicker at clearing the ball from their semi-circle, but this was offset by the concession of a large number of short corners. Attacking opportunities were at a premium for the hosts, who relied on long balls to connect with the forwards, and Clontarf were adept at hoovering these up.
Enniscorthy's best attacking move of the half was rewarded with the awarding of a short corner following excellent work by Robbie Walshe, but this did not meet with success.
The Wexford side made a much brighter start to the second-half, and the match became a much more open contest, with Smith driving forward from midfield and connecting well with Walshe. This period of equilibrium lasted up to around the 50th minute, and Clontarf then began to wrestle back momentum.
John Murphy was in inspirational form in goal, while a succession of Clontarf short corners were correctly read by his defence, and Greg Hawkins made tackle after tackle, breaking up waves of opposition attacks.
It was from a short corner that Clontarf got the lead, the ball squeezed past the onrushing Costello and Ivan Rothwell and into the bottom right corner past the desparing dive of Murphy. Enniscorthy's heads did drop temporarily, and Clontarf smelt blood.
Despite this, the home side battled hard, though they missed the intelligent play of Jordan, who was forced off through injury shortly before Clontarf's goal.
Nick Peare, switched to the right after a time up front on the left, put in some good work moving forward; the overall team effort was hampered though as the Wexford men ran out of steam in the final ten minutes.
Squad: John Murphy, Robbie Walshe, Greg Hawkins, Kieran Costello, P.J. Pierce, Ivan Rothwell, Nick Peare, Rory Maguire, Alan Smith, Conor Tull, Jack Redmond, Mick Jordan, William Durnan.
There was nothing to separate the sides as Enniscorthy seconds and Wicklow played out a scoreless draw at the Astro Active Centre on Saturday in Leinster Division 7.
The first-half started promisingly for the Wexford men as William Durnan and Rory Maguire linked up well to set up the latter for a shot at goal which grazed the post. The home side's defence had to be on their guard though, as Wicklow could be dangerous on the counter.
Just before the half-time whistle Durnan had a great chance which was just slightly off the mark.
The second-half was dominated by the Wicklow side, with Enniscorthy struggling to create chances. F.C.J. Bunclody student Daithí Medcalf worked hard to give the hosts an outlet between the midfield and forward departments.
Midway through the half Medcalf set up John McWey, but his shot on goal was well saved. After that the Wicklow side dominated proceedings; over the last 15 minutes the Garden county men were awarded five short corners but some last-ditch defending kept the scoreline to nil all.
Next week Enniscorthy's second team travel to Dublin to take on league leaders, Dublin University (Trinity College).
Squad: Luke Doyle, Ivan Rothwell, Greg Hawkins, Mark Jowett, Nick Peare, Daithí Medcalf, Liam Jowett, Jack Redmond, Robbie Walshe, Rory Maguire, William Durnan, Conor Tull, Jacob English, Fraser Rothwell.
Enniscorthy's ladies' seconds were in action on home turf at Astro Active on Sunday week, with the home team playing host to an experienced Carlow. Enniscorthy defended the town goal in the first-half, with the game getting off to a nervous start from both sides.
Possession was evenly dispersed throughout the opening half and Enniscorthy had some lovely connecting play from the midfield and forward lines.
Sweeper Kim O'Connor defended well, keeping the Carlow forwards out, and the defence was tested on a few occasions in the first-half but at all times was supported by goalie Aoife Foran.
Enniscorthy were steady in attack which resulted in their first score.
Halfway into the first-half Stephanie Kinsella fed a lovely ball to Emma Doyle who scored the first goal, sneaking it skilfully past the diving goalie.
The Carlow ladies kept the pressure on and won a short corner, but Enniscorthy defender Aine O'Brien deflected Carlow's shot wide.
This passage of play was followed by a further three more short corners and on the third Carlow scored.
From there Róisín O Muirí defended well, stopping Carlow's attack in the Enniscorthy circle, and Aine O'Brien was also great in defence at crucial stages. Bridget Gainfort made a great run but was stopped by Carlow's defence just before half-time as the score remained 1-1.
Despite a strong re-start for the home side, Enniscorthy found themselves defending a short corner minutes into the second-half. Róisín O Muirí stopped a shot on goal as did goalkeeper Aoife Foran, however a great shot from a Carlow forward meant a second score soared high into the back of the net. Despite tough competition from both sides, the final score was Carlow 2, Enniscorthy 1.
Squad: Catherine Dunbar, Avril Buttle, Emma Doyle, Lisa Tyghe, Róisín Bridges, Lillian Howlin, Aoife Foran, Stephanie Kinsella, Aine O'Brien, Niamh Buttle, Róisín Nolan, Orlaith Breen, Róisín O Muirí, Bridget Gainford, Kim O'Connor, Aoileann Hourihane.
Manager: Irene Doyle; coach: Ivanna Yeats; assistant coach: Jacinta Kinsella.
Gorey women were on the road again to last year's beaten Leinster finalists, Balbriggan. The game kicked off at 10.30 a.m. which meant the ladies had a very early start.
Not long after the match kicking off, the Balbriggan out-half cleared their lines and after an excellent take by full-back Ann Cumiskey she managed to make her way through the entire defence to put the ball down between the sticks for the opening try, which Jessica Foote converted.
Some strong defensive work from Lorraine Furney, Clodagh Carroll and Kathryn Blood kept the Balbriggan pack from scoring.
Gorey won a penalty just inside their ten-metre line which was kicked over successfully by Jessica Foote again.
The Gorey ladies were straight back on the scoreboard and yet again the magic feet of full-back Ann Cumiskey put them 17 points up following another conversion by Jessica.
In the second-half Gorey showed their huge strength in depth, having to completely empty their bench due to injury after injury. They had to really work hard as Balbriggan hit them with everything they had.
Ciara Breen, Katie Doyle and Ciara Tomkins really stood up to the test in the back line. Balbriggan finally got on the scoresheet after some excellent work from their forwards.
Player of the day was the stand-out Ann Cumiskey. The match ended 17-7.
Gorey remain unbeaten in the Leinster League this year and continue to go from strength to strength.
Squad: Kathryn Blood, Tara Wilkinson-Jackson, Samantha Wafer, Clodagh Carroll, Katie Kelly, Lorraine Furney, Aoife Crowe, Nuala Kelly (capt.), Maeve Bolger, Ciara Breen, Jessica Foote, Ciara Tomkins, Orla Power, Maeve Farrell, Ann Cumiskey, Miriam Casey, Maria Breen, Valerie Conyard, Sinéad Brennan, Katie Doyle, Anna Nolan, Sarah Killick, Leona Tracy, Rachael Bolton, Robyn Burton.
Wexford hosted the Gorey Under-10s on Saturday. On a bright, clear morning, the playing conditions were very good.
Gorey had four teams and a number of players made good running breaks and moved forward well through the Wexford defence, including Jasper Kelly, Stephen Hendy, Calum McNulty, Brandon Byrne, Jack Power, Rhys Jones, Keelan Kennedy, Finn O'Flynn, Zach Walsh and Brendan Coyne.
Among the Gorey players who showed great skill in the scrums and line-outs were David Byrne, Liam McGovern, Conor Hayes, Seán O'Brien-Kavanagh, Noah McCann, Lewis Sunderland and Mary Canavan.
When Wexford moved forward into Gorey territory the team put in a good defensive effort, with Craig Bailey, Shea Glacken, Tom Mackey, Odhran Cullen, Ben Fanning, Seán Killoran, Robert Quinn and Seán Traynor all tackling well.
The Gorey players worked hard in the attacking phases to create some fine tries by Tristan Cash, Ciarán Kavanagh, Dara Dee, Paddy Flynn, William Stephens, Rioch Fortune, Max Ryan and George Kavanagh.
Thanks to Wexford for an enjoyable morning of rugby. Thanks to all our parents and supporters for coming to the match.