Sunday 20 October 2019

Wanderers win on road

Wexford Wanderers first XV travelled to Balbriggan on Sunday for the latest instalment of Division 2B of the Leinster League.

Wanderers 22 Balbriggan 10

Wanderers' previous outing was saw them comprehensively beat Athboy 37-19 at home to erase the narrow 22-19 loss to Athy the last time they were on the road.

Sunday's contest was an altogether different proposition, with Balbriggan holding serious aspirations about winning the league outright, and the rivalry between both clubs has been at a peak in the past few seasons since Wanderers denied them the Division 3 crown back in April, 2015.

The game started with Balbriggan well in the ascendancy and scoring a try within the first five minutes to lead 7-0. This, however, proved to be Wanderers' wake-up call as Colm O Corcora opened the scoring with a penalty before Shea Boggan, who had a big impact on the game, cut open the Balbriggan defence to give Liam Barry the off-load to score in the corner and bring Wanderers into an 8-7 lead at the interval.

As the match progressed so did the confidence of the Wexford backs in particular, with Colm O Corcora making two excellent line breaks which Balbriggan just managed to close down with desperate defending.

Eoin Roche, in just his second start with the team, controlled the back line with a cool temperament under pressure and a clinically accurate boot to keep Balbriggan on the back foot.

The centre pairing of young Boggan and the experienced O Corcora complemented Roche and provided a solid conduit to release Kenny and Barry on the wings at will. In defence this youthful back line was equally as accomplished.

In the second period Wanderers continued to exploit the Balbriggan flanks and Liam Barry in an excellent move managed to round his opposite number and somehow touch the ball down despite the attention of two defenders.

Balbriggan added a penalty against the run of play to decrease the deficit before Barry returned Shea Boggan's selfless set-up in the opening period by releasing Boggan for the final score to seal the Wexford victory.

O Corcora, who had a mixed day with the boot, added the conversions to both second-half tries to leave a final scoreline of 22-10 in the most comprehensive victory over Balbriggan in a very long time.

The biggest boost Wanderers will take from this is the completeness of the performance, particularly with the younger backs of Roche, Boggan and Barry, who were joined by debutant Callum Murphy off the bench, dictating the style of play.

This was coupled with experienced players like John Rowe and captain Aidan Stewart leading matters in the forwards where the platform for this win was established through a lot of tough graft.

The win moves Wanderers up to third behind leaders New Ross and Athy who are on equal points but who have a better points difference to keep them second place.

Next up for Wexford is a contest with local rivals and current league leaders New Ross on November 6 at Park Lane.

The fixture will be unique as it will be the first time in many seasons that Wanderers will be hosting two Senior men's fixtures on the same day against the same opposition.

Indeed, the last time this occurred was against Railway Union approximately seven years ago.

Action on November 6 commences with the meeting of the J2 sides at 1.30 p.m., followed by the Leinster League clash at 3 p.m. which could be a season-defining clash for both sides.

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Team: Aidan Stewart (capt.), Graham Grant, Dave Martin, Chris Walsh, John Turner, Tom Brennan, Luke Roche, John Rowe, Kevin Roche, Eoin Roche, Robbie Kenny, Colm O Corcora, Shea Boggan, Liam Barry, Paul Gannon. Subs. - Kevin Birney, Seán Redmond, Nick Jones, Callum Murphy, Robbie Casey.

Wexford People