Earls inspires Wicklow to historic Cup success
Wicklow 28 Enniscorthy 21
Wicklow made history yesterday as they won the Provincial Towns Cup for the first time in their history.
The Wicklow men were full value for their win in Ashbourne, with man of the match and out-half Niall Earls scoring 18 points.
Enniscorthy came into the game as favourites but they were well and truly blitzed by Wicklow in the opening half as the eventual winners went in leading 21-6 at the break.
John Jenkinson broke the deadlock as early as the second minute when he touched down after good lineout play and Wicklow had the bit between their teeth.
Penalties were exchanged while Earls also landed a drop goal before he got in for his try on 38 minutes, which he also converted. Ivan Poole added a penalty right on half-time for Enniscorthy but it was the wind-assisted Wicklow who commanded the game at half-time.
The second half started as furiously as the opening half but this time it was the Wexford men who turned up the heat.
They turned the game on its head with two tries in three minutes from Killian Lett and Ivan Jacob and the lead was back to 21-18 after 53 minutes. David Murphy was then yellow-carded for Enniscorthy and, within minutes, Wicklow got in for their third and most crucial try as Barry Hurley took the ball off the back of a lineout and touched down after his pack drove him on for a try almost identical to their opening effort. Earls landed the conversion and the lead went out to 28-18.
Poole did kick his third penalty to leave just a score in the game but despite pressure right up until the death, they couldn't get through the Wicklow defence that were no doubt spurred on by their large and vocal following.
ENNISCORTHY - R Barbour; I Jacob, K Lett, H O'Neill, D O'Dwyer; I Poole, A Jacob; A Todisco, D Murphy, P Waters, J Bulmer, T Stamp, B Bolger, G Jacob, T Morrissey. Reps: J Daly, P O'Mahony, E Lett, J Kelly and J Doyle.
WICKLOW - S Duffy; J Langtry, K Hurrell, S Farrar, M Higgins; N Earls, D Higgins; T O'Donovan, E Killeen, S Byrne, J Jenkinson, F Walsh, A Doyle, L Gaffney, W Wojnar. Reps: B Hurley, E Downes, S O'Brien, A Byrne and S Setien.
Ref - G Conway