Sunday 15 September 2019

Under-15s get vital win to stay in hunt

At the beginning of this month Enniscorthy's Under-15s made the away trip to play Naas in the Leinster League and suffered a 24-7 defeat.

To have a chance of progressing to the knockout stages, Enniscorthy needed to avenge that defeat when the sides met for the return fixture in Enniscorthy on Saturday.

The first-half was a close affair with both defences on top throughout and only one score registered in the opening 25 minutes - a penalty scored by Naas from in front of the posts.

That looked like being the only score of an evenly-contested half until a quickly-taken tap penalty by Enniscorthy ten metres out was fed to Niall Parker who muscled his way over the line to put Enniscorthy ahead 5-3 at half-time.

Enniscorthy were caught napping at the beginning of the second-half as a clever chip over Enniscorthy's defence allowed Naas to score for an 8-5 lead.

The home side bounced backed brilliantly two minutes later with the best move of the match beginning in midfield, and the ball being fed through the hands of backs and forwards to reach centre Conor Nolan who did what he has been doing all season - eluding would-be tacklers on his way to touch down and, with the successful conversion by Fiachra Hourihane, the home side now led 12-8.

Enniscorthy's defensive error after 20 minutes following a hopeful kick in behind their defence led to a simple try for Naas which they converted, and then just three minutes later they scored another penalty from 30 metres to establish an unlikely 18-12 lead against the run of play.

With the Naas defence looking as solid as ever, it was going to take something special for Enniscorthy to rescue the match and thankfully star forward Niall Parker produced a trademark try with just two minutes left.

He got possession in midfield following another good combination of passes and showed his speed as well as his power to successfully burst over the line. A pressure kick followed for Fiachra Hourihane which he successfully slotted through the posts to give Enniscorthy a deserved one-point victory (19-18).

The Enniscorthy team has now completed its Leinster League run undefeated at home all season, and if Gorey manage to defeat Naas in the last match in this group Enniscorthy will qualify for the Leinster semi-finals.

If this happens Enniscorthy's management will be relatively confident about several aspects of their game, notably their scrummaging and never-say-die spirit.

Squad: Danny Ryan, Fiachra Hourihane, Eoghan Herlihy, Adam Gethings, Niall Parker, Brian Corcoran, Luke Harrington, Ryan Cahill, Cameron O'Leary, Michael McGinty, James Rothwell, Ryan Askins, Joe Atkinson, Stephen Coady, Seamus Doyle, Stephen Hadley, Steven Hickey, Ryan Hodge, Jordan Kelly, Conor Nolan, Adam Pepper, Cian Rochford, Robert Scanlan, Cian Wickham, Seánie O'Neill.

Wexford People