independent

Tuesday 21 May 2019

The stuff of dreams for Enniscorthy

'The team is the best I can ever remember seeing at the club'

Tom Ryan of Enniscorthy RFC lifts the cup after the Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup final match between Enniscorthy RFC and Wicklow RFC at Navan RFC
Tom Ryan of Enniscorthy RFC lifts the cup after the Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup final match between Enniscorthy RFC and Wicklow RFC at Navan RFC

David Medcalf

'We rode our luck,' admitted Enniscorthy RFC chairman Paul McCrea after the enormity of Sunday's victory in the Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup final against Wicklow in Navan had sunk in, 'but we brought the cup home.

'It has been a great year for us, gaining promotion and so on, and the cup win was the icing on the cake.

'That team is the best I can ever remember seeing in the club - and they are all home grown too.'

The chairman insisted that he never had any doubts but that man of the match Nick Doyle's winning penalty would reach the target.

'I had ever confidence in Nick's kick, that it would go over the bar - though it was bit of a lame duck.'

While it may be unusual for a forward to take the kicks, Paul pointed out that the lanky number eight has been starring with the boot in a very successful Carlow IT side.

And he was in raptures at the way that the young man from The Still stole a couple of late line-outs to help protect the slender lead.

'Wicklow played some fantastic rugby,' he mused.

'The big fear for us was that we were such hot favourites - and that is always a perilous thing.

'We butchered a few try scoring chances but then so did Wicklow - it was a nervy kind of match.'

He paid tribute to the on-filed leadership of Tom Ryan - 'a brilliant captain who led by example all year.'

Co-coach Declan O'Brien (who played on Enniscorthy's winning side in the final of 2012 and in 2015) revealed that decision to have Nick Doyle take that famous kick was not a pre-planned initiative.

'He plays out-half for his college and the players took the decision on the field - he is an all-rounder.'

Declan reckoned that fatigue played its part in a performance by the cup holders which was short of sparkle.

'Wicklow were really up for it and we were not flowing in attack but we dogged it out and made the tackles in defence.

'Maybe the lads were tired after 28 or 29 matches - more emotionally tired than physically.'

He was delighted to see supporters turn out in good number for what will surely be the club's last Provincial Towns Cup final in some time, now that they are an AIL side.

'People come out for cup games,' he pondered. 'Cup rugby generates interest and everyone enjoys the buzz. And it is gaining traction on television too.'

Long serving Declan has been happy to share the coaching honours this season with Kieran Hurrell.

He expects the quiet spoken Kiwi will remain at Ross Road as the side progresses to national fare next term.

'The players have really enjoyed Kieran coming in - a different voice,' says his colleague.

No plans are afoot to import big name signings for the AIL adventure: 'We will work with what we have.

'There are some good young guys coming up through the underage structures.'

Enniscorthy Guardian

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