Tough cup hurdle cleared
Enniscorthy know by now that they never get an easy game against Tullow, especially in Blackgates, and so it proved again on Sunday in the Bank of Ireland Provincial Town's Cup quarter-final.
Enniscorthy 32 Tullow 26
It was a very close opening 40 minutes and the lead changed six times with Enniscorthy scoring two tries and Tullow getting one. Enniscorthy opened the scoring when Killian Lett burst through two tackles 30 metres out and cantered over for a five-pointer. Tullow responded magnificently with William Canavan slotting two penalties for a 6-5 lead.
On 23 minutes Ivan Poole put the 'Scorthy boys back in front with a penalty kick.
Tullow exerted a lot of pressure on the Enniscorthy line and were rewarded when John Hanbidge drove over from a line-out and Canavan added the conversion for a 13-8 lead.
From the drop-out Enniscorthy responded and centre Daniel Pim finished off a sustained spell of pressure under the posts. Poole added the conversion.
Enniscorthy conceded a soft penalty just before half-time and Canavan obliged, but Ivan Poole kicked Enniscorthy back in front in the last act of the first-half and they led 18-16.
The opening period of the second-half was very tight and tense with both Canavan and Poole missing chances. Enniscorthy had the greater share of possession and there were 65 minutes on the clock before the breakthrough came.
Timmy Morrissey was out in the backs and touched down from close in. Poole added the conversion. Killian Lett scored his second try after another excellent break inside the Tullow '22 and Ivan Poole converted the touchdown to give Enniscorthy what appeared to be an unassailable lead with nine minutes remaining.
Tullow to their credit never gave up and with four minutes remaining they scored another try, driving over from a line-out. Tullow added another try just on full-time and Enniscorthy just got over the line.
Team manager David Wrafter said: 'We were a little bit rusty today and there might have been a kind of a hangover from our final league match with Dundalk. We knew it wasn't going to be easy up here; it never is as league form counts for nothing in these matches.
'Credit to Tullow who really put it up to us, but also credit to our lads for digging deep but we need to finish our chances when they come. Here we are in a semi-final and as Sod's law would have it we play Dundalk once again this season.
'The match is in Naas on Easter Sunday and it should be a cracker against the league champions. I know that the lads are already looking forward to it.'
There were good performances from Seán Wall, Thomas Stamp, Timmy Morrissey, Paul Bolger, Killian Lett, Ivan Poole, Daniel Pim and Paddy Waters whose brother, Joe, was on the bench for Tullow.
Team: James Doyle, Davy Murphy, Paddy Waters, Seán Wall, Tomas Stamp, Tom Ryan, Alan Jacob, Timmy Morrissey, Paul Bolger, Killian Lett (capt.), Hughie O'Neill, Ivan Poole, Daniel Pim, Evan Lett, Ross Barbour. Subs. - Ivan Jacob, Shane Maguire, Angelo Todisco, James Ruth, Joe Bulmer.
It doesn't appear as if there is any separating Enniscorthy and Dundalk this season. The north-eastern men were in Enniscorthy a few weeks back and their seconds team won the league by beating the home team.
They are in action again this Sunday in the Provincial Towns seconds Cup quarter-final and Enniscorthy will have to travel for the 3 p.m. kick-off.
Team coach Mark O'Donoghue will be looking for a better performance than that day but it is still a tall order for the 'Scorthy men.