Enniscorthy stay in top spot
Rugby, Energia AIL Division 2C: Enniscorthy 24 Sunday's Well 5
Enniscorthy maintained a two-point lead at the top of the Energia AIL Division 2C table with a stirring second-half performance against Sunday's Well in Alcast Park on Saturday.
It was hard work for David Wrafter's side in tricky conditions in the first period, but they gutted it out and were able to be more expansive and effective in a second-half they dominated, almost from start to finish.
Coming into the contest, the hosts led Bruff in the standings - the only team to get the better of them so far this season - but Skerries thumped the Limerick outfit to announce themselves as the main contender to early pace-setters 'Scorthy.
With the forecast set to be changeable with heavy doses of wind, things were never likely to be easy for either team, and it was evident in a first-half littered with handling errors. It was the battling quality of Enniscorthy that shone through when their skills failed them.
In truth, Sunday's Well were full value for their 5-3 interval lead. They played over 30 minutes of the half in Enniscorthy territory but, as much as they pressed, they found line breaks hard to come by and their hosts defended superbly.
Enniscorthy had some power struggles in the first-half and were second best in the scrum, but for as much territorial dominance as the visitors had, their line-out was largely a disaster in the wind and that was important in keeping the Cork side away from the try line.
Sunday's Well spent the whole of the first 15 minutes in the opposition half. The huffing and puffing came closest to blowing the defence down when Conor O'Brien committed tacklers and attempted the off-load to a steaming Billy Pope, but the scrum-half knocked on to save Enniscorthy.
The table-toppers finally got out of their own half in the 16th minute, but it was a short respite. A crossing penalty halted a promising move just outside the '22, but there was enough promise in the move to give hope for what was to come.
Sunday's Well gave up a kickable penalty to go to the corner and, with their line-out troubles in full flow, they went short in a tidy move between John Barry and Conor O'Brien but they eventually knocked-on again to end the attack.
Ironically, when they did get a long line-out correct it set up their only try of the game. Barry dumped the ball into the middle of the line, and Sunday's Well got the rolling maul moving and drove from the '22, with Evan O'Connell touching down.
The Cork club had given up a very kickable penalty at goal to go to the corner earlier in the game, and it was understandable after Eoin Geary missed the conversion.
The try seemed to wake the hosts up, as they marched down the field, won a penalty and Ivan Poole nailed it in the 39th minute.
Down 5-3 at the interval, Enniscorthy started to exert more pressure in the second-half. The breeze dropped a bit and so did the handling errors, as the hosts' scrum started to get going and confidence was up.
A couple of poor kicks for position did hold 'Scorthy back, but they did finally take the lead in the 59th minute.
A poor defensive kick was claimed by Hugh O'Neill. His side worked it back-and-forth across the field, with Tom Ryan and Ivan Poole involved in the last phase as Richard Dunne powered away and touched down.
Poole added the extras to make it 10-5 and it seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Well's rearguard action. The Enniscorthy passing was crisp and an ever-increasing amount of line breaks continued to materialise.
Niall Parker went over in the 67th minute after more strong work, and Poole converted to make it 17-5.
Five minutes later Timmy Morrissey did all the hard work with a devastating run past two tacklers. He was stopped short but off-loaded to Nick Doyle for the touchdown.
Another picture perfect conversion from Poole wrapped up the scoring.
Enniscorthy did push for the bonus point try but they probably would have been flattered by that margin of victory and they came up just short.
The league leaders will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to the Argaoithe ground to take on Clonmel (2.30 p.m.).
Enniscorthy: Richard Dunne, Ivan Jacob, Daniel Pim, Ivan Poole, David O'Dwyer, Ben Kidd, Billy Wickham; Angelo Todisco, Davie Murphy, M.J. Doyle, Tom Ryan (capt.), Tomás Stamp, Nick Doyle, Brian Bolger, Timmy Morrissey. Replacements (roll on) - Jamie Barron, Paddy Waters, Stephen Hadley, Niall Parker, Hugh O'Neill.
Sunday's Well: Gary Downey, James Kiernan, Eoin Geary, Brian Derham, Ryan Buckley, Dylan Lacey, Billy Pope; Ian Murphy, John Barry, Evan O'Connell, Shane Desmond, Joshua Barnes, Conor O'Brien, Cormac Kelliher, Cyprien Jouve. Replacements (roll on) - Jamie Downey, Michael Moynihan, James Barrett, Andrew Mintern, Joshua Featherstone.
Referee: Robbie McGreer (I.R.F.U.-Ulster).