Leinster title for U-17 squad
Wanderers 38 Tullow 25
The Wexford Wanderers Under-17s played Tullow in the Leinster League Division 1 final in Kilkenny and it was a thrilling encounter.
Wexford started better, bringing the game to the Tullow team from the outset. It only took Wexford the first few minutes to place their stamp on this game, with strong running from Brian Deeny and quick passing through hands seeing Ben McGuinness cross over for the first try.
Wexford got a turnover from good defence by Rúairí Nunn and Aaron Culliton which was then passed out to Brian Deeny, and he attacked the Tullow defence supported by Luke Walsh and Dave Avtin.
Then the ball passed through the hands of Barry Ryan, Josh O'Connor, Ben McGuinness and Feidhlim Roche before going back to Deeny who evaded players and powered over for a try converted by Ben Stafford (12-0).
Tullow settled into the game with their strong forward division putting Wexford on the back foot, and the Carlow side registered their first score in the form of a try.
Another chance fell to Wexford in the 20th minute when Josh O'Connor rounded and evaded players to score under the posts which was then converted by Ben Stafford (19-5).
Tullow put Wexford under pressure from the re-start and turned over the ball. Wexford found themselves defending their line and after substantial pressure Tullow scored a fine try in the corner, so it was 19-12 to Wexford at half-time.
Wexford started the second-half just as strong as the first, and ten minutes had elapsed when good forward play from Brian Deeny was matched with inter-linking play from the backs, with good strong running at the heart of the Tullow defence from Barry Ryan, Chris Glover, Jack Abrams and Josh O'Connor. Eventually Rúairí Nunn powered over from 30 metres to score a try in the corner.
Tullow didn't lie down however, and Wexford were pushed back to their own '22 again and conceded a penalty (24-15).
Then a counter-attack try was scored by Wexford when Tullow kicked deep in to the '22 in the 50th minute. Garbhan McCormack counter attacked with pace, supported by Ben Stafford who then popped the ball to Aaron Culliton.
Culliton powered over the gain line and passed to the onrushing Josh O'Connor who broke and evaded tackles to score under the posts, converted by Ben Stafford (31-15).
Tullow, with strong running by Charlie Ward, left Wexford defending their line. With determined play they outstretched the Wexford defence for a try in the corner (31-20).
It didn't take long for Wexford to register on the scoreboard again, after some good play from Rúairí Fenlon and Ben Stafford, and strong running from Barry Ryan.
Ryan broke through and passed to Luke Corish who beat the Tullow defence to score a well-worked try under the posts, converted by Ben Stafford (38-20).
Tullow never gave up and with eight minutes left they still continued to play with a high tempo and power running. They broke the Wexford line to score a try (38-25).
Wexford in the remaining minutes attacked the Tullow line and finished the game just short. It was Wexford's superior attack that won the day, but both sides contributed to a stellar encounter.
This was one of Wexford's finest team displays and they notched up this all-important win. There was some strong defending especially in the wide channels by Feidhlim Roche, Luke Corish, Garbhan McCormack and Diarmud Barry.
The midfield backs of Ben Stafford, Chris Glover and Josh O'Connor were hard to break down with strong runs and solid defensive work. Strong runs and hard work also came from forwards Barry Ryan, Rúairí Nunn, Ben McGuinness and Brian Deeny, with a staunch performance giving Wexford this well-deserved victory in this thrilling Leinster league final.
Wanderers: Luke Corish, Garbhan McCormack, Diarmud Barry, David Avtin, Jack Abrams, Ryan Doyle, Aidan Mc Donnell, Chris Glover, Harry McLoughlin, Aaron Culliton, Seán Kelly Komalofe, Louis Richard, Carlos Sasaran, Luke Walsh, Callum Cleary, Ben McGuinness, Conor Kelly, Rúairí Fenlon, Ben Stafford, Feidhlim Roche, Barry Ryan, Rúairí Nunn, Sam Audsley, Matthew Duffy, Philip McGrath, Brian Deeny, Josh O'Connor.