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Thursday 18 September 2014

Penalty concession proves fatal as divisional difference shows

BRIAN O'DONOGHUE in Portarlington

Published 17/04/2012 | 11:57

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ENNISCORTHY 23 TULLOW 17

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WITH THE 2008 defeat still fresh in the mind of the entire Tullow club there was still a feeling in the air that 2012 was going to be their year.

A dream coaching partnership of Jackman and O'brien, a beautiful day and the bigger support were all in their favour, including a maroon and white stripped car parked at the black gates in hope by TJ Rooney.

It was Jackman who said that to have a Towns Cup legacy you have to win one, but the supporters of this club will already have it set in the mind that they are close, sadly Sunday wasn't to be, but the one thing all the busses and traffic left Portarlington with, was pride.

The divisional difference was evident at times with Enniscorty edging the pace and power, particularly in the opening stages as they dominated the scrum and pinned Tullow into their own half. William Canavan kicked to relieve pressure on several occasions for Tullow but it would take twenty minutes of feeling each other up before either side could penetrate.

It was Canavan that would have the opening chance of the game but his difficult sideline effort drifted wide, but, it came before his team finally enjoyed a period of possession with Aho Bloomfield almost releasing Darren Dunne and after Rob Porter had made a good break.

However the Wexford pack were outstanding in the first half with Tony Ryan leading the charge and indeed the pack were forceful when it came to Captain Chris Barbour going over for the first try of the afternoon. The conversion was missed but four minutes later Ivan Poole put over a penalty and it was all Enniscorthy.

The confidence was up with the Vinegar Hill men, and Poole tried to show the way attempting an ambitious penalty from half way but distance deserted him. He missed another when Enniscorthy still dominated and the Tullow line knew a change was needed.

Alan Burns came in for Spencer Hanbidge and while ultimately it would settle the side its immediate effect was to lose a scrum and Harbour was in for his second try which Poole converted but the hard work had been done by Leech O'brien and Dalton.

The final three minutes of the half belonged to Tullow. William Hollow O'brien, Rob Porter and Peter Fitzgerald got physical and Canavan would slot two penalties to leave it 15-6 at half time.

The second half started as the first had ended with good Tullow pressure and Canavan booted over a super penalty from the sideline. However with five minutes played Enniscorthy showed how playing in division 1A will benefit a team and when scrum half Alan Jacob spread wide it was too easy for Poole Damien Mccabe and finally Hughie O'neill to isolate Sean Mccarthy and the Wexford team lead 20-9.

Tullow ran in the subs and again they had an impact with Tullow gaining some momentum forcing the leaders into error and Canavan booted the penalty for 20-12. Enniscorthy still never looked like fading and two penalties in a row saw Poole follow Canavan's lead and he made it 23-12. He was given a golden opportunity to add a further three points but his miss left Tullow with a glimmer of hope.

The impressive Tony Ryan and substitute Paddy Waters aided by Graham Murphy were given the task of keeping Tullow out in the final minutes.

It seemed there would be no breakthrough but Tullows patience paid off when Rob Porter ploughed over the try line in injury time, the conversion was missed and although there was enough time for a restart and Tullow gathered possession their final penalty concession proved fatal and Enniscorthy were champions.

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