Delaney kicks Ross to victory
Winners’ title bid boosted
The boot of scrum-half Paddy Delaney lifted New Ross a step further towards the title as they even denied second-placed challengers Wexford Wanderers a bonus point in this torrid Leinster League Division 2B clash at Southknock on Sunday.
New Ross 15 Wexford Wanderers 7
While New Ross must wait a little longer to see if this was enough to set them on their way towards silverware, they may still have to thank the boot of Delaney which has proved so crucial through this campaign.
When they looked short of ideas when it came to executing try situations, their diminutive scrum-half stepped up to the mark as he kicked his side to a victory which they just about deserved.
Despite scoring the only try, Wexford Wanderers were forced to play much of the game inside their own half, with the result that they failed to apply sufficient pressure on the home side.
They may have been unlucky not to have scored a further try, particularly late on when they were held short of the line on two separate occasions, having forced scrums and driving mauls, but credit to the home defence which held firm in face of this late onslaught.
New Ross kicked for territory, which gave them the opportunity to force the visitors back, and they fully capitalised on the indiscipline of Wanderers around scrums and rucks to force kickable penalties.
This was in stark contrast to Wexford, who tried to run from deep in defence, but they neither had the passing skills nor pace out wide to capitalise on this.
A similar type game to that of New Ross would have paid greater dividends, as had they enjoyed more territory inside the home '22 they had the power up front to drive their way towards more tries.
Understandably, New Ross came out with real fire in their play, driving Wanderers back deep in defence. From the first scrum referee William Murphy penalised the visitors, leaving Delaney to kick a penalty after just two minutes.
Wanderers' lack of discipline came back to haunt them with the concession of two further penalties, one for infringing in a line-out and the second for handling the ball in a ruck. This left Delaney to slot over both kicks, giving New Ross a 9-0 lead after twelve minutes.
Wanderers still managed to hang in there, gradually working their way down the pitch, and they needed the next score or the game would have been totally gone from them.
Following some driving forward play they decided to go for the corner from a penalty, but New Ross, having lost the line-out, regained possession in the ensuing ruck to safely clear their lines.
Still pressing in search of their opening score, Wanderers moved the ball quickly along the New Ross '22 to create space out wide, and when the home side could not react quick enough, Robert Kenny dived over in the corner. Eoin Roche kicked the conversion, leaving it 9-7 after 35 minutes which was how it remained to the interval.
Instead of Wanderers taking the initiative on the re-start, New Ross continued to dominate territory, with Delaney making it 12-7 within three minutes of the re-start.
Following continuous pressure a further Delaney penalty in the 62nd minute helped New Ross to move 15-7 clear, with Wanderers now out of bonus point territory.
It provided a real challenge to the visitors. They managed to launch a couple of scrums and drives close to the New Ross line in the final minutes, but they were unable to breach the home defence who held out for the points to move them a step closer to the title and promotion.
New Ross: Matt Crowdle, Eanna Burke, David Crowdle, Dean Prendergast, Jamie Cullen, Gordon Doyle, Paddy Delaney, James Ryan, Bartec Levingstone, Kevin Browne, Chris Dimond, Kyle Roche, Brian Harte, Tim Coughlan, Steve Roche. Replacements: Kieran Butler, Jimmy Bryan, Breen Howlin, Joe Coughlan, Kevin Burke.
Wexford Wanderers: Paul Gannon, Robert Kenny, Shea Boggan, Corey Carty, Robert Casey, Eoin Roche, Kevin Roche, Aidan Stewart, Kevin Redmond, James Byrne, Christopher Walsh, John Turner, Tom Brennan, Luke Roche, Darragh Kehoe. Replacements: Colm O Corcora, David Martin, Carthaigh Geoghegan.
Referee: William Murphy (Kilkenny).