Enniscorthy add to lead in Division 1A as strong start by Wicklow is repelled
Rugby, Leinster League: Enniscorthy 30 Wicklow 18
Enniscorthy stretched their lead at the top of Division 1A of the Leinster League when they beat one of their nearest rivals, Wicklow, by 30 points to 18 in the Ross Road on Saturday.
Wicklow started like a blaze and went into an early eleven-point lead with a try from flying full-back Ben Porter who skinned the Enniscorthy defence.
Out-half and captain Niall Earls missed the conversion but kicked two fine penalties as the home side were caught off guard in the opening 20 minutes.
They eventually came alive when wing forward and man of the match Nick Doyle made a superb break inside the Wicklow '22. An audacious one-handed flick pass put Ivan Jacob in for an excellent opening try in the corner.
Enniscorthy were now humming and they soon added a second. This time scrum-half Arthur Dunne sent in Jacob for his second, and Ivan Poole quickly added a penalty to put Enniscorthy in front.
The match was played at a serious pace and the home side's comeback was completed when a flowing back move saw Ivan Poole touch down for the third try. And although he pushed the conversion to the left of the post, the comeback was complete.
Enniscorthy almost scored right at the start of the second-half, but the ball was knocked on inches from the line.
Wicklow were game and their unwillingness to lie down made for an exciting clash which largely ebbed and flowed although the home side were always in charge.
Fittingly it was Nick Doyle who scored the bonus point fourth try after really good work from Timmy Morrissey and Tom Ryan.
They moved the ball at will and they possibly should have added to their tally, but they emptied the bench with good performances from replacements Luke Cummins, Jack Kelly and Billy Wickham. Regular hooker Davy Murphy turned over some terrific ball when he also came off the bench.
Wicklow's centre, Shane Farrar, did get in for a consolation try five minutes from the end.
'When you're top of the table everyone wants to have a pop, and beating Wicklow today was important,' Enniscorthy's backs coach, Kieron Hurrell, said.
'I was very pleased with the way we moved the ball in the backs, and when Jack Kelly came in at out-half the rhythm was maintained. We are away to Dundalk next week which will not be easy as they put it up to Gorey today.
'Christmas time is always a crucial period in our season and we just need to stay focused. We also are lucky now that we have a nice crop of young lads coming through, although it looks as if Joe Carley will be missing for a while with an ankle injury which he picked up playing for Carlow I.T.'
Enniscorthy: Angelo Todisco, Murt Kehoe, Paddy Waters, Tomás Stamp, Tom Ryan (capt.), Nick Doyle, Brian Bolger, Timmy Morrissey, Arthur Dunne, Ivan Poole. David O'Dwyer, Killian Lett, Daniel Pim, Ivan Jacob, Richard Dunne. Subs. (all used) - James Doyle, Davy Murphy, Luke Cummins, Billy Wickham, Jack Kelly.
Wicklow: Neill Dickson, Jack McKenna, Eddie Downes, Brian Short, Fergus Ward, Mark Nicholson. Luke Gersekowski, Charlie Butterworth, Mark Higgins, Niall Earls (capt.), Dean Leonard, Shane Farrar, Billy Ngawini, Ben Armstrong, Ben Porter. Subs. - Enna Killeen, Pablo Castilla, George Naoupu, Denis Higgins, Simon Breen.
It has been a tough week for Enniscorthy R.F.C., with the sudden passing of Jack Whelan-Kinsella who played with the Under-14 team.
The club provided a guard of honour at his funeral in Oylegate Church on Sunday morning, and he will be sadly missed by his team-mates.
Peter Perkins passed away after a short illness. Peter was real club stalwart, especially with the pitches and buildings, and was also involved in the youth coaching for a number of years.
Neil Ashmore from Ballycarney also died, and he too was a former player and club member.
The club would like extend sympathies to the three families on their sad losses.