Newbridge 10, Enniscorthy 10: Enniscorthy came back from 10-0 down to earn a draw in an entertaining Leinster League Division 1A game at Newbridge on Saturday last. Although they started well enough, putting a lot of pressure on the opponent's line, they failed to score.
After 15 minutes Newbridge came into the game more and went 3-0 ahead with a penalty kick. Shortly after this their prop forward ran in under the posts for a try after some slack tackling by the visitors. Ivan Poole kicked a penalty for Enniscorthy just before half-time to keep them in touch.
Enniscorthy were a different team in the second-half. Robbie O'Connor was introduced at loose head prop and this gave them dominance in the scrum. Their line-out began to function better and with the aid of a slight breeze they played most of the game in Newbridge's half.
Despite this dominance they failed to score for almost 20 minutes. The pressure told eventually when Ross Barbour broke through the Newbridge defence and transferred inside to Ivan Poole who touched down under the posts. He converted his try to leave the scores level at 10-10. Enniscorthy continued to dominate but due to some sloppy passing and indeed a strong Newbridge defence they failed to score again.
Enniscorthy will be pleased with their second-half display although they did make a number of mistakes. Both Declan O'Brien and Seán Wall had big games that helped the pack to dominate. Alan Jacob had a fine game at scrum-half and was a constant threat in the opponent's half.
Enniscorthy will play Wanderers in the league at home on Saturday next at 2.30 p.m.
Team: Ciarán Murphy, Luke Goff, Paddy Waters, Declan O'Brien, Seán Wall, Willie Dunne, Mitchel Dalton, Naoise Dunbar, Alan Jacob, Ivan Poole, Ross Barbour (capt.), Damien McCabe, Evan Lett, Fiacre Ryan, Richard Dunne. Subs. - Robbie O'Connor for W. Dunne (H-T), Ivan Jacob for Lett (60), John Bracken for O'Brien (75), David Dunne and Ronnie White.
Wexford 8, Enniscorthy 7: Enniscorthy Under-19s resumed after the Christmas break with a friendly against near neighbours Wexford in particularly difficult conditions on a heavy pitch. Wexford dominated the early exchanges and only some excellent defending by Ciarán O'Neill, Pat Kehoe, Steven Redmond, Alex Pim and Martin Steemers kept the line intact.
The match turned over 0-0 at half-time, testimony to the conditions. Early in the secondhalf, after some lazy defensive rucking, the home side went 5-0 up, with the subsequent concession of a penalty and yellow card putting them 8-0 ahead.
It was only then that Enniscorthy started playing with some fire, and big forwards like birthday boy Mike Morrissey, James Cooper, Jack Flood and Brian Bolger started to rumble and provide some go forward ball for the backs. Despite the best efforts of Liam Ryan, Fionn Carty and Dylan Walsh, they were unable to break down a tight home defence but, after making good yardage, they forced a scrum outside the '22.
From a planned move, scrum-half Neil McCrea broke right to feed flyer Danny Dreelan who outpaced three defenders to touch down in the corner, with Rob Frayne landing a mighty conversion from the touchline - game on.
Enniscorthy freshened the side by introducing Murt Kehoe, Dylan Furlong, Ross Walsh and Conor Farrell and went for the win, forcing a late penalty which trailed narrowly wide to leave the laurels with the home team.
Enniscorthy now travel to Waterpark next week, playing Carlow in the S.E.L. the following week, in preparation for the big one on January 26 - a Leinster Premier League quarter-final showdown with Navan at a Meath venue. While Saturday's match showed encouraging signs, there is plenty more in the tank and much improvement will be required to advance to the semi-finals, with a lot of work needed in the training field between this and Navan.
Panel: Jonnie Squance, Dylan Walsh, Martin Steemers, Liam Ryan, Danny Dreelan, Rob Frayne, Neil McCrea, James Cooper, Jack Flood, Martin Kehoe, Daniel Owen, Mike Morrissey, Brian Bolger, Gavin Bailey, Alex Pim, Fionn Carty, Brian Windsor, Lar McDonald, Ciarán O'Neill, Pat Kehoe, Ross Walsh, Dylan Furlong, Leon Power, Seán Murphy, Ian Butler, Steven Redmond.
Fixtures (Saturday, January 12): Under-19 v. Waterpark, friendly, away, 11.30 a.m.; Under-15 v. Athy, Leinster League, Ross Road, 11.30 a.m. (back pitch); Senior matches: first XV v. Wanderers, Leinster League, Ross Road, 2.30 p.m., preceded by seconds' game, 12.30 p.m.
Gorey firsts kicked off the new year with a bonus point win over a tough Mullingar at Clonattin on Saturday night last. In front of a large and vocal home support, the home team started the brighter and after an Aidan O'Brien penalty, they were to cross the line first after a fine individual try by captain J.P. Redmond.
This was no more than Gorey deserved as they had most of the possession during the early exchanges. Gorey continued to attack and after some great inter-play between backs and forwards, Redmond was again on hand to finish off for the try of the match to take the score to 13-0.
Mullingar managed one penalty from two attempts to leave the score 13-3 before man of the match Ben Horan crossed close to the posts for Aidan O'Brien to convert and leave the score at 20-3 at the interval.
The second-half saw Mullingar come more into the game and immediately they reduced the arrears when Gorey were penalised. Mullingar were to camp in the Gorey '22 for long periods but could not break down a resolute defence.
With minutes on the clock Gorey worked their way deep into the Mullingar '22 for the industrious Phil Horan to go over as the final whistle sounded. After a long lay-off over the Christmas period, Gorey will be happy to get the show back on the road with a bonus point win as there are some crucial league games over the next few weeks, culminating with the first round of the Provincial Towns Cup at home to Dundalk on Sunday, January 27.
Gorey had some big performers in the pack, with Ben Horan, J.P. Redmond and Adrian Copeland the pick. The backs were well served by Aidan O'Brien, Richard Jones and Colin Peavoy.
Team: C. Allen, B. O'Connor, T. Tomkins, A. Copeland, J.P. Redmond, J. Ahearne, P. Horan, B. Horan, R. Jones, A. O'Brien, P.J. Clince, W. Peavoy, C. Peavoy. K. Breen, C. Furney, K. O'Rourke, F. Bellanova, G. Batter, M. Woods, T. O'Reilly.
Gorey thirds kept up their unbeaten record with a hard-earned win over Unidare in Dublin on Saturday afternoon last. Frank Deering's charges had to rely on the boot of Matty Forde with two penalties to register a 6-0 win over their hosts.
This was always going to be a hard game as Unidare are a well-organised team. Best for Gorey were Jim Hughes, Bernard McGuire and Colin French in the pack, while Tom Kinsella, Colm Morris and Matty Forde kept the backs ticking over. Gorey are at home on Saturday next to Millmount which promises to be a very interesting game as there was nothing between the teams the last day they played.
Gorey's Robin Copeland was the toast of Cardiff Blues and his home club on Saturday last as he capped an impressive performance to run in the final try to secure a great win for the Blues over Munster. Gorey's other Premiership players are Eoin Sherriff, who has worked his way into the Saracens first team and featured well over Christmas, and Foster Horan who is working hard at London Irish. All three continue to impress as they establish themselves.
Following his success with the Leinster youths, James Nolan continues to impress too as he trained with the Irish Under-18s over Christmas. Gorey had further good news when Stephen Gardiner was called up to the Irish Under-19 squad. The club wishes both lads the best of luck in their endeavours.
Gorey I 4, Portlaoise 4: Gorey first XI carried on with their undefeated streak which goes back to the middle of November. There was a nail-biting finish to this game in Kilkenny, which to be honest could have gone either way.
Gorey took a well-deserved lead early in the first-half through an excellent deflected goal from Alex Weston. Portlaoise struck back immediately and clinically through a well-finished short corner.
Once again both teams exchanged goals before half-time, with Portlaoise taking the lead and Gorey fighting back with a Valerie Power goal to leave the interval score at 2-2.
The second-half carried on where the first ended, with both teams exchanging attack after attack, and to be fair it was a very exciting game. Megan Roark-Shannon created and scored a goal to give Gorey a slender lead, only to have Portlaoise peg it back once more.
A mix-up on the half-way line led to Portaoise quickly breaking onto the Gorey goal to take the lead once more. Once again Gorey came at Portlaoise in waves and were rewarded when Valerie Power scored her second of the game. This is where the scoring ended, but chances were yet again exchanged before the end and to be honest the draw was the fair result.
For Gorey, Mary Furney and Alex Weston played very well throughout, but will have to tighten up their defensive play for their next outing. Gorey have now won four and drawn one of their last five.
This is a good run which they will hope to continue next week when they come up against local rivals Enniscorthy. These teams have met three times this season already with one win each and a draw early in the season. It promises to be a competitive encounter and will be difficult to call.
Training continues on Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Gorey Community School and new members are always welcome. Thanks to our team sponsor, Jim Byrne's Bar, Carnew, for their support.
SLANEY OLYMPIC A.C.
Kilmore A.C. staged the county Masters cross-country at Lingstown on Sunday last. Once again Slaney Olympic's Masters were out in force.
In the ladies' 3k, Siobhán O'Shea was first Slaney home in fourth position and secured the bronze team medal with Sabina Sweeney (eighth) and Mag Dunphy (eleventh). Annis Kehoe, Jane Porter and Deirdre Kavanagh were also out representing the club.
In the various age categories gold medals were won by Siobhán O'Shea (Over-40), Mag Dunphy (Over-50), Annis Kehoe (Over-55) and Jane Porter (Over-60).
Kevin Murphy was master of the men's 6k race, coming home in first place and taking the gold team medal with team-mates Martin Monaghan (third) and Jim Stafford (fourth). The men's team of David Barron (seventh), John Roban (16th) and Billy Reck (17th) took the bronze medals.
Also representing Slaney were Mick Morrissey, John O'Connor, Paul Murphy, Ger Murphy, Graham Porter and Terry O'Keeffe.
Individual gold medals went to Jim Stafford (Over-50), Graham Porter (Over-60) and Terry O'Keeffe (Over-70).
After winning the gold medal in the Over-70, Slaney's Terry O'Keeffe announced he was hanging up his spikes and was retiring from cross-country running after 57 years, having represented club, county and Ireland over the years in cross-country. Well done Terry.
Thirty-six club members started the new year with a bang in the first race of the January winter league on Wednesday evening last. The 2k started at St. Senan's to the footbridge at the Prom.
Runners were lined up and sent off randomly at 15-second intervals, and these times are then used to establish handicaps for the next race.
It's not too late to start, as the league continues for the next four Wednesday evenings with registration in the car park at the Riverside Hotel at 6.15 p.m., so come on, give it a go!
Club training resumes today (Tuesday) and Thursdays in Bellefield from 6.30 to 7.30 p.m., and Sundays from the Abbey Square at 8.30 a.m. New members are always welcome - contact Mag on 087-6366905, Jason (0871216233) or any club member.
Dates for your diary: winter league, Wednesdays in January at 6.15 p.m. at The Prom.; January 13, Ferrycarrig five-mile; February 10, Enniscorthy 10k.
All details are on www.slaneyolympic.com