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Sunday 22 September 2019

Wanderers win two on the trot

Victories versus Birr, Ardee

The Wexford Wanderers Senior men's XV travelled deep into the midlands on Sunday to face regular league opponents Birr in a re-run of the opening game of the season.

Wanderers 27 Birr 23

On that occasion, despite a spirited Birr display, the game ended with Wanderers taking the points but only just on a scoreline of 22-19.

The side which travelled on Sunday was much changed from the initial meeting, with none of the try scorers lining out in the away fixture.

From the first whistle Birr attacked and were awarded a penalty which got them on the scoreboard early. It took a further 20 minutes before Wanderers managed to open their scoring, with Robbie Casey scoring a try which was not converted.

On the stroke of half-time Birr were awarded a second penalty kick which gave them a narrow 6-5 lead at the interval.

What the initial half lacked in scoring, the second period more than made amends with Wanderers scoring a penalty less than five minutes in to regain the lead.

Birr responded minutes later with their first try which they converted to lead by five before adding a penalty ten minutes later to extend their advantage.

The Wexford backs were far from finished and centre Colm O Corcora managed to cut through the Birr defence to score a converted try and cut the lead to one point with 20 minutes remaining.

Five minutes later Wanderers again released the backs, with replacement winger Bob Kenny scoring an unconverted try to once again put Wanderers ahead.

Not to be left out on the proceedings, replacement back row Nick Jones smashed over for Wexford's final score, another converted try, to earn Wanderers a bonus point.

However, such was the tightness of the contest that at the death Birr managed to score a converted try for an all-important losing bonus point. The final scoreline was 27-23 in favour of Wexford.

Next up for Wanderers is a home double-header next Sunday against Athy when the second XV will play in advance of the first team meeting of the clubs. The Wexford sides will be seriously pumped for this fixture after the narrow losses both experienced during the early-season trip to the Showgrounds where they lost both fixtures by a combined total of five points.

The action next Sunday commences at 12.30 p.m., and as this is the final weekend of Senior rugby at Park Lane before Christmas, as much support as possible will be appreciated.

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Team: Seán Redmond, Kevin Birney, Dave Martin, John Turner, Chris Walsh, Tom Brennan, Luke Roche, Cartaigh Geoghegan, Kevin Roche, Eoin Roche, Rob Casey, Colm O Corcora, Shea Boggan, Liam Barry, Paul Gannon. Subs. - Nick Jones, Gavin Doyle, Rob Kenny, Tom Hudson, Graham Grant.

Wanderers 38, Ardee 0: The Wexford Wanderers first XV travelled to Ardee on November 27 in the Leinster League.

The Park Lane outfit made the journey on the back of a 35-0 win over near neighbours Arklow the previous weekend as the league reached its midway point. The win over Arklow was much needed by Wanderers to exorcise the memory of the 24-3 home loss to New Ross.

That defeat to New Ross was a difficult day at the office for Wexford as all the game's scores came in the opening period and Wanderers just couldn't break the Ross defence to reduce the margin. That said, the win over Arklow re-established home advantage status for Wanderers and provided a quick reversal of the previous weekend's fortunes.

The trip to Ardee provided Wanderers with the opportunity to complete the first half of the league with a positive performance. The opening minutes saw fit again hooker Kevin Birney create havoc for the Ardee defensive line which barely managed to stop him but not before he unloaded to the supporting Liam Barry who scored the opening try.

Shortly after, during a period of broken play, Tom Brennan managed to scoop up a loose ball with one hand and race away to score a try and double the Wanderers lead.

Next on the referee's score card was find of the season Shea Boggan who managed to weave through the Ardee defence to provide Colm O Corcora with the easiest of conversions.

Not one to be left out, O Corcora followed Boggan's example and crossed the whitewash just before the interval and added the conversion to secure the bonus point and give Wanderers a 24-0 half-time lead.

In the second period Ardee attacked hard in an effort to bring parity to the contest and at times they sorely tested the Wanderers players both individually and as a unit. However, Wanderers were quick to pounce on mistakes, with Boggan adding to his earlier score and O Corcora following suit and adding the points on both occasions.

Indeed, Boggan was most unlucky to have missed out on his hat-trick when a desperate Ardee defender managed to get a last-gasp ankle-tap on him as he raced for the try line.

In the end Ardee pressure started to show with Wanderers camped in their own '22 for the final quarter, with the home side within eight metres of the line for most of this time and pushing for scores.

The result was that Wanderers were reduced to 13 men for the final ten minutes with two players sin-binned for aggressive defending. The Wanderers defence somehow managed to hold out and the final score was a 38-0 win which placed them firmly in second place at the midway point.

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