CARLOW RUGBY supporters must feel a bit like the man who waited all day for a bus only for two arrive in succession.
After last week's breakthrough against Monstown the Carlow team had their second Leinster League victory on Sunday beating Wicklow by 19 points to 13 in Oakpark.
Carlow opening score came after three minutes when Wes Shirley took an intercept 30 metres out and raced in under the posts. Whyte converted to make it it 7-0. With the aid of a moderate breeze Carlow continue to press. After 35 minutes, flier right wing Ian Costigan booted the ball up the touchline collected on the hop and dived over to score. Carlow were good value their 12-0 lead on half time.
Wicklow scored with a penalty early in the second half but only after the referee gave a kicker a second chance after deeming a Carlow player moved during the first failed effort.
Carlow then brought on strong subs in the form of returning players Ross Elmes and James Nolan. Whyte kicked a penalty to the corner. A good catch by Wes Shirley was followed by the pack steamrolling across the line and a touchdown by Mark Slye. Whyte converted from out wide to put 19-3 ahead.
A bonus point win was now on the cards. Substitute winger Mark Elmes seemed to have scored the fourth try, only for the referee to mysteriously bring Carlow back for a penalty when the advantage rule seemed to be the more appropriate approach.
Late in the game a floodgate of penalties against Carlow, plus extra 10 metres, resulted in Wicklow adding another penalty plus a try in the last move of the game. This brought Wicklow to 13 points as against Carlow's 19, giving them a bonus point even their supporters agreed was hardly deserved.
Theoretically Carlow could still survive in Leinster League Division 1B but they would have to win their last two matches against Tullow (away) and Ashbourne (at home) plus gain at least one bonus point. Ashbourne would have to lose twice and get no bonus point. Even then Carlow would have to undergo a play off to stay up.
Next week sees the opening round of the Provincial Towns Cup when Carlow play Navan in Oak Park.
The draw for the second round of the Towns Cup will take place in the Oak Park Clubhouse after the Carlow v Navan match.
Carlow J1 team: Barry Purcell, Jeff McDermott, James Waddock, Matt Dempsey, Ian Costigan, Richard Whyte, Alan Nolan, Larry McGrath, Mark Slye, Chris Byrne, John Lyons, Wes Shirley, Ed Keating, Barry Waddock (Capt), Joe Bulmer. Subs: John Farrell, Ross Elmes, Mark Elmes, James Nolan, Thomas Whitney.
After being ahead 13 - 6 at the break, and leading 18 -13 with 10 minutes to go, Carlow Seconds eventually lost 23 - 18 to Wicklow in the match at Oakpark before the Firsts game.
Carlow had tries by Tom Bolger, Willie Whitford and Eoin Rea plus a Tom Bolger penalty. Carlow seconds open their Cup campaign against Portlaoise on Sunday February 3 next.
Ladies final in Athy
Meanwhile the Carlow Coyotes team, unbeaten this season, face a strong challenge next Saturday January 26 when they meet Dublin side Belvedere in a Leinster League final.
The match takes place in Athy rugby grounds at 2.30 pm.