Enniscorthy hit back for win
Extraordinary turnaround leaves Ashbourne stunned
Saturday's Leinster League Division 1A match was one of the most extraordinary games ever seen in Ross Road.
Enniscorthy 28 Ashbourne 19
Ashbourne blew Enniscorthy out of the water in the opening 40 minutes, scoring three tries with the only response from the home side being a Jack Kelly penalty.
Enniscorthy were simply awful as they backed off and missed a host of tackles and were run ragged. They trailed 19-3 at the interval.
The opening try came after just three minutes when a loose kick was pounced on by centre Charles Coyle who moved the ball wide to Mitchell O'Meara, and he switched the ball inside to scrum-half Gavin Kennedy to score.
They continued to hammer the Enniscorthy defence and number 8 Simon Deevy scored from close in after constant pressure. Enniscorthy were sleep-walking through the game.
Although Kelly kicked a penalty, Ashbourne scored again just before half-time when Greg Jacob was sin-binned, and Ashbourne took advantage for a pushover try and a 19-3 lead at the interval.
Enniscorthy knew they had to start the second 40 minutes well to stand a chance, and they did. Almost from the re-start Ivan Poole, who had replaced Jack Kelly at out-half at half-time, found a gap and Greg Jacob was on his shoulder in support.
He in turn found left wing David O'Dwyer who still had work to do, but he showed his class to score in the corner and the comeback was on.
They were now winning a lot more ball and Nick Doyle won a penalty which was slotted by Poole so the lead was again narrowed to 19-11 after 55 minutes.
Ashbourne re-grouped and almost scored again when Adam Martin made a break, but this time the home defence was switched on and Killian Lett put in a long relieving kick from inside his own '22.
Enniscorthy bounced back and Ivan Jacob was on the end of a superb move to brilliantly evade Adam Sherrard and score in the corner.
Poole missed the conversion, and the lead with six minutes remaining was now down to three points (19-16).
Ashbourne's scrum, which had been strong all day, was now starting to disintegrate, and to make matters worse they had Ciarán Roche sin-binned.
Greg Jacob was again to the fore and his surging run almost saw him getting in to score, but Ashbourne knocked the ball on and Enniscorthy's pressure from the resulting scrum told as they pushed them over the line and the referee awarded a penalty try. The comeback was completed and for the first time they went 21-19 in front.
Although time was almost up, Enniscorthy went in search of the fourth try and with 80 minutes on the clock number 8 Nick Doyle made a break just outside the '22 but he elected to kick, and Ivan Jacob almost won the race for the touchdown.
However, the referee called the players back for an Enniscorthy scrum on the visitors' '22 which they won, but Ashbourne's brave defending stopped the charge. Eventually they wilted though with four minutes of injury time gone when the ball found its way to lock Tomás Stamp on the '22.
He kicked the ball in behind the Ashbourne defence and remarkably the big second row won the race to touch down inches from the dead ball line to score the vital fourth try and secure the bonus point win at the end of a remarkable game.
Ashbourne were understandably devastated at the end of a brilliant pulsating game, but they eventually ran out of steam after the relentless pounding from Enniscorthy who were ecstatic after producing one of the greatest comebacks ever witnessed at this old ground.
The result improved when news filtered through that Malahide had been beaten by D.L.S.P. which means that Enniscorthy have cut the Dubliners' lead at the top of the table to three points.
Greg Jacob and Paddy Waters were immense and not far behind them were Tom Ryan and Tomás Stamp up front.
Ivan Poole was terrific when coming on at the break, and the centre partnership of Killian Lett and Daniel Pim really cut loose in the second-half.
Ivan Jacob was outstanding and a constant menace all day.
Team: Paddy Waters, Davy Murphy, James Doyle (Tony White), Tomás Stamp, Joe Bulmer (John Daly), Greg Jacob, Tom Ryan, Nick Doyle, Arthur Dunne, Evan Lett, Jack Kelly (Ivan Poole), David O'Dwyer, Killian Lett, Daniel Pim (capt.), Ivan Jacob, Ross Barbour (Jack Kelly).
Saturday's Irish Junior Cup semi-final versus D.L.S.P. is in Palmerstown at 2 p.m.