Wednesday 13 December 2017

We are the champions

Team captain Killian Lett who led his team to the title
Team captain Killian Lett who led his team to the title

Enniscorthy Rugby Club's first team wrote themselves into the history books on Saturday when they won the Leinster League Division 1A title in champagne style at Sydney Parade.

Enniscorthy 52 Monkstown 0

They eventually walloped the home side Monkstown, scoring 52 points which included nine tries.

They went into this final league match in pole position, knowing that a win would be enough to secure the title.

They did start a little nervy and in fact the breakthrough did not come until the 16th minute when Ross Barbour made a superb break inside the Monkstown half for the opening score. Ivan Poole added the conversion.

Six minutes later Greg Jacob broke free from a loose maul and shook off two tacklers to get in, and again Ivan Poole added the conversion.

The shackles were now off and the driving of the forwards had Monkstown back-peddling. The thirdtry was awarded when Monkstown collapsed a scrum almost on the line, and again Ivan Poole kicked the conversion.

The fourth and crucial bonus point try came in the 38th minute. Greg Jacob and Tom Ryan combined with scrum-half Alan Jacob who picked out Ross Barbour on the run, and the full-back's expertly-timed pass put in Ivan Jacob to score.

There were two more tries to come before half-time. Ross Barbour was involved in both and they were scored by David O'Dwyer and Angelo Todisco who got the biggest cheer of the day, and they left Enniscorthy leading 38-0 at the break.

Monkstown to their credit re-grouped at the interval and were much more competitive in the second-half.

Enniscorthy, however, were determined not to concede and as they emptied the bench they scored two further tries, with David O'Dwyer getting his second and Hughie O'Neill showing terrific determination to score the final try. For good measure Ivan Poole converted both.

It was a very good, professional team performance with every player shining.

Coach Declan O'Brien said: 'I came home seven years ago to try to make this day possible and at last it has happened. It of course doesn't happen overnight and the work that was done at under-age has paid off because all the lads are home-grown apart from Joe Bulmer.

'We lost just two matches and that is winning form. We are determined now to go all the way but it will be a long road if we are to eventually win Senior status. Thank God the ground is getting a little better which suits our brand of rugby. I am just so delighted for the players and the rest of the coaching team.'

Full-back Ross Barbour has had an outstanding year, scoring eight tries, but he has been a tormentor and creator supreme in this campaign. 'It will take a while for all of this to sink in but I think we deserve this because we have made a huge effort in the last three seasons. I never enjoyed my rugby as much as this season and we have worked really hard to win.'

Head coach Damian McCabe said: 'I was very nervous today and knowing that we had to win put its own pressure on the lads. We got a massive kick in the backside when Gorey stuffed us in January.

We sat down and took stock and realised that we needed to improve immeasurably if we were to win the title, and credit to the players, they responded brilliantly.

'Greg Jacob came back to Enniscorthy this year and he has had a huge influence on the team, not just his coaching but his play has been out of the top drawer. It is a great day for the club but we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us now.'

Enniscorthy will now enter a round robin and play the other three provincial winners. They are at home to the Ulster and Connacht champions and away to Munster, and then if they get through that they will play the second from bottom team in Division 3 of the All-Ireland League so it is a long road ahead.

Westport are the Connacht champions and the other two provinces are still not decided.

Team: Angelo Todisco, Davy Murphy, Paddy Waters, Tomás Stamp, Joe Bulmer, Tom Ryan, Greg Jacob, Timmy Morrissey, Alan Jacob , Ivan Poole, Ivan Jacob, Killian Lett (capt.), Hughie O'Neill, David O'Dwyer, Ross Barbour. Subs. (all used) - James Ruth, Brian Bolger, Jack Kelly, Evan Lett, Arthur Dunne.

Wexford People

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