Sunday 22 January 2017

Enniscorthy set for tense finale in play-off race

Dermot O'Mahony

Published 22/04/2016 | 02:30

'Out-half Ivan Poole (pictured), who had converted Waters' try, commenced the second half by dropping a goal to inch the Wexford club ahead' Photo: Sportsfile
'Out-half Ivan Poole (pictured), who had converted Waters' try, commenced the second half by dropping a goal to inch the Wexford club ahead' Photo: Sportsfile

The minutes immediately before and after half-time are often referred to as the 'championship minutes' - scores in either of these two windows can often severely influence who might win a game.

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Well, on Saturday in Clonmel the 17 points racked up by Enniscorthy in the 'championship minutes' not only acted as the basis for their eventual 22-7 victory over their hosts but it may prove to be the rock on which their elevation to the Ulster Bank League is built.

Domination

Trailing 7-0 following early domination by the home side but subsequently unable to tack on any points of their own despite the assistance of a significant breeze at the south county Tipperary venue, Enniscorthy prop forward Paddy Waters appeared on the shoulder of flanker Tom Ryan who had made a scything break inside the Clonmel 22 to gather the offload and touch down under the posts with the last play of the first half.

Out-half Ivan Poole, who had converted Waters' try, commenced the second half by dropping a goal to inch the Wexford club ahead and five minutes in he converted No 8 Timmy Morrissey's try as the game was turned completely on its head.

It was three minutes from the end before the third try was scored by winger Ivan Jacob and this didn't realistically leave enough time for the visitors to snatch another try which would in the circumstances have been so precious.

The third and final series of games in the Round Robin will be played tomorrow with Enniscorthy at home in Ross Road against Westport while Clonmel host Bangor.

The state of play right now is that Bangor leads the way on seven points, one clear of Enniscorthy with Clonmel a further point in arrears and Westport yet to get off the mark.

If teams finish level on points then points difference will be used to separate them and at present Bangor's points difference is two better than Enniscorthy's, which means that if Enniscorthy win against Westport with an expected bonus point they can only be pipped for automatic promotion if Bangor do likewise in Clonmel or the Ulster club win without scoring four tries but by enough to maintain their two-point advantage on points difference.

All very complicated and the good news for Enniscorthy is that by beating Westport with a bonus point they would be guaranteed a top-two finish and the runner-up will play Sligo in a play-off to determine who plays in Division 2 C of the AIL next year.

Further good news for the Wexford club is that Clonmel still have a realistic chance of making that play-off; a win of any hue would propel them past Bangor so there is all to fight for in that encounter.

So it'll be a case of phone calls, texts and following Twitter closely, and all the while keeping calculators and slide rules handy as the drama unfolds from 2.30pm tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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