Seconds bow out
Towns Cup Seconds: Ashbourne RFC 29 Wicklow RFC 13
Wicklow RFC's second team travelled to Ashbourne RFC to take on a very strong home side in the first round of the Provincial Seconds Cup.
This was probably one of the toughest draws possible but Wicklow travelled with a strong squad and hopes were high of pulling off a win.
Ashbourne were obviously wary of Wicklows attacking threat and opted to play the game on their considerably smaller seconds pitch while their pristine, full sized pitch with its covered stands etc went unused.
Ashbourne had a big bruising pack and played the first half with the breeze at their backs. They got an early penalty to give them a 3-0 lead after five minutes.
Wicklow bounced back really well and after Cian Reynolds had done brilliantly to charge down a clearence kick, John Jenkinson drove over from in close to score a good try. Wicklow led 3-5 after ten minutes.
Ashbourne took the lead with a penalty five minutes later to make it 6-5.
On the 20-minute mark another unnecessary penalty conceded by Wicklow and the Meath men were 9-5 up .
Ashbourne got their first try of the day on the 26th minute mark to make it 16-5.
Wicklow needed to respond and they did so with a good penalty kick from Alex Porter to make it 16-8.
Wicklow needed to get to half-time without conceding another score but credit to Ashbourne, they worked their way over in the corner and scored on the stroke of half-time.
The conversion made it 21-8 and Wicklow were facing an uphill battle in the second half.
To Wicklow's credit they threw absolutely everything they had at the much bigger Ashbourne side.
They dominated possession and field position but they found it very difficult to break down a teak tough Ashbourne defence. Wicklows young side never let their heads drop and eventually got over for a well deserved try from Alex Porter to make it 21-13 with 15 minutes to go.
They needed another quick score but instead it went to Ashbourne who knocked over another penalty to make it 24-13.
Wicklow finished the game strongly but they couldnt make the break through.
Ashbourne rounded off proceedings with a late try with the last play of the game. The final score was 29-13.
This was a high quality game of rugby between two good sides.
Wicklow's young side wore their hearts on their sleeves and gave as good as they got in every department.
Adam Cullen, Brian Shortt, Dylan Byrne, Cian Reynolds and David Nicholson were outstanding and never took a backward step.
They probably lacked a little organisation at times in what has been a slightly disjointed season.
Ashbourne will be hard stopped in this competition and could go all the way.
Wicklow's first team take on Tullow in the second round of the Provincial Towns Cup in Tullow on Sunday, in what is probably the tie of the round.
Tullow's position of fourth in Leinster League Divsion 1B belies their undoubted cup pedigree.
They will be licking their lips at the prospect of Wicklow coming through the Black Gates.
Wicklow will need to be at their absolute best to leave with a win and a place in the quarter-final of this incredible competition.
'We are asking all our supporters to make a huge effort to get to Tullow on Sunday,' they said in the lead up to the big games.
The home side always bring a bumper crowd to the Towns Cup games and they need as much support as they can get.
Seconds: Seamus O'Brien, Mark Nicholson, Mark Cullen, Brian Short, John Jenkinson, Dylan Byrne, Tom Maguire, Lorcan Smullen, Shane Byrne, Alex Porter, Ben Armstrong, Karl Townsend, Cian Reynolds, Allen Byrne, Jack Dunne, Steven Swan, Pablo Castello Vinolo, Andy O'Boyle, Dave Nicholson, Adam Cullen.