THE ENNISCORTHY V.C. Junior hurlers travelled to Pearse Park in Arklow recently to take on Coláiste Chill Mhantáin in the South Leinster 'C1' final and ended up on the wrong side of a final scoreline of 8-14 to 5-8 which doesn't do the young Enniscorthy side the justice they deserve.
The game was played in a fine sporting manner and for long periods there was very little to divide the sides. The Wicklow team settled quickly and had picked off 1-4 before Enniscorthy got into their stride.
Shamrocks clubman Shane O'Connor opened the Enniscorthy account with a fine long-range point, and this was soon followed by an opportunist strike from the diminutive Rickie O'Leary who also hails from the Shamrocks.
The Enniscorthy boys pressed hard as the half progressed and when Shane O'Connor added a goal it looked very promising. A point each from Rapparees duo Aaron Dobbs and Dale Kirwan brought the half-time score to 2-8 to 2-3 in favour of the Wicklow school.
Early in the second-half a super goal from Jeff Tobin (Ferns St. Aidan's) brought Enniscorthy V.C. within two points of the leaders. Tobin followed this up with a well-taken point and was very unlucky not to grab the lead for the Enniscorthy side when he saw his close-range shot end up at the wrong side of the Wicklow goalpost.
This early second-half period of dominance was not to last as Coláiste Chill Mhantáin fought back with a brace of goals which seemed to knock the wind out of the Enniscorthy sails. They battled on however and added two more goals courtesy of Dale Kirwan and Nathan Breslin. Kirwan added another point along with three fine efforts from Shane O'Connor, Rickie O'Leary and Oulart-The Ballagh's Barry Leacy.
The Enniscorthy side battled hard throughout and will take consolation from the fact that all but four of the starting line-up will be under-age for this grade in next year's championship. It is also worth noting that ten of the Enniscorthy panel are eligible to play in the Under-14½ grade in this year's championship.
For Enniscorthy, Peter Cullen and the hardworking Adam Kirwan were impressive in the back line, while Dale Kirwan and Aaron Dobbs worked hard at midfield. Rickie O'Leary and Shane O'Connor picked off some fine scores as did Jeff Tobin and second-half substitute Nathan Breslin.
Panel: Ivan Meegan, Aaron O'Toole, David Brennan, Barry Leacy, Gerry O'Connor, Adam Kirwan, Peter Cullen, Dale Kirwan, Aaron Dobbs, Aaron Davis, Shane O'Connor, Ryan Murphy, Jeff Tobin, Rickie O'Leary, Nathan Breslin, Stephen Corrigan, Jack Somers, Tommy O'Rourke, Rhys Dunne, Aidan Murphy.