Sunday 18 February 2018

Round-robin woe casts a shadow over Enniscorthy

Enniscorthy head coach Declan O’Brien. Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Enniscorthy head coach Declan O’Brien. Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE News Desk

Enniscorthy enjoyed a successful season, winning Division 1A of the Leinster League as well as bagging the Ulster Bank All-Ireland Junior Cup, but their agonisingly narrow failure to secure promotion to the AIL will rankle throughout the summer.

On top of this they also lost 28-21 to Wicklow in a memorable Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup final which brought down the curtain on another busy season at a sun-kissed Ashbourne Rugby Club three weeks ago.

For Wicklow the victory was extra special as it was the club's first win in the 91-year history of the prestigious competition that continues to grow in popularity.


On their march to Towns Cup glory, Wicklow disposed of three Leinster League Division 1A teams but unfortunately they will have to ply their trade in Division 1B again next season as Dundalk's relegation from the AIL combined with Enniscorthy's failure to gain promotion through the round-robin nullified their promotion/relegation play-off win against Clondalkin so that numbers could be maintained at eight teams in all divisions.

Enniscorthy held off a strong challenge in Division 1A from neighbours Gorey, who enjoyed a fruitful first season in the top tier, and the title was only decided by their final-day win at Monkstown.

As a result of the aforementioned numbers issue only this season's league winners were promoted and they were the victors in Division 1B Malahide, Portlaoise who won Division 2A, Roscrea (champions in Division 2B) and Arklow who prevailed in Division 3.

The provincial cup competitions at lower levels were as keenly contested as ever and Enniscorthy 2nd XV secured the Provincial Towns Seconds Cup (J2) for the second year in succession when they beat Birr 29-14 at Kilkenny Rugby Club to complete a league and cup double, having already won Division 1A of the Seconds League.

Naas won the Anderson Cup (J3) when they beat Tullow 16-11 at Cill Dara, while Kilkenny took the Michael Dunne Cup (J4) decider when they grabbed a late try to beat Athboy 16-12 at Athy.

Terenure College J1s were most impressive this season as they won both the Metropolitan Cup when they beat MU Barnhall 21-7 at Donnybrook to add to the Metro League Division 1 crown that they wrapped up earlier with a 49-7 defeat of UCD.

In the Metro area the Albert O'Connell Cup (J2) was won by Lansdowne, Monkstown triumphed in the Moran Cup (J3), the Winters Cup (J4) winners were Old Wesley, and Suttonians won the O'Connor Cup (J5) while the Fox Cup (Over-35) was won by De La Salle Palmerston.

At U-20s Dublin University won the JP Fanagan Premier 1 League while a talented Navan crop secured the Premier 2 crown and Old Belvedere were victorious in Premier 3.

In the U-20s cups Lansdowne beat Dublin University to win the McCorry Cup final, Old Wesley beat Trinity 2nd XV in the Purcell Cup final and Mullingar won the Harry Gale Cup when they beat De La Salle Palmerston in the decider.

In their third season the revamped Metro Leagues have proven to be immensely popular and the various winners were: Blackrock College in Division 2, Clontarf in Division 3, Old Wesley in Division 4, UCD in Division 5, Old Wesley in Division 6, Greystones in Division 7, Blackrock College in Division 8, Dublin University in Division 9, Clontarf in Division 10 and MU Barnhall in Division 11.

Irish Independent

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