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Metro League Division 2

Injury Weakened Lansdowne Overwhelmed by Enniscorthy

Lansdowne J2 6 – 38 Enniscorthy

The challenge facing John Sparks’ and Ross Barry’s Junior 2 team in this league was laid bare on a wind and sun swept early Saturday fixture in Ballycorus, as after a solid performance for 55 minutes, we succumbed to the superior strength and fitness of Enniscorthy’s J1s.

(With thanks to Tadhg Campbell for his vivid pitch-side reporting and camera work!)

We got off to our usual robust start and the sides looked well matched, with number 8 Jerry McCabe making a menace of himself counter rucking.  But the game was less than five minutes old when the ominous signs started to appear. First, on our own 10 meter line we had a clearance kick blocked down letting the visitors in for the softest of tries. 0 – 7.  Within moments, we seemed to hand over advantage again, as Enniscorthy intercepted a loose pass when we were inside their 22 and we found ourselves back on our own line.  A penalty that followed from the scrum handed another soft three points and the score was 0 – 10 after just 15 minutes.

However, we defended energetically, with winger Max Moore putting in some rattling tackles (quote from Tadhg on the side: “Maxi with a hit on the opposition winger that a mother would be proud of …!”) and the ever-reliable and brave Bill MacNamara holding the line like Horatio on the Bridge.  Relentlessly, we worked our way up to their half and following a number of infringements and penalties awarded against Enniscorthy, we opened our account on the 25 minute mark.

And so we went into the break on 3 – 10 and on the face of it, still in the game. But in truth, the weight and vigour of the visitors’ constant attacks, together with the fact that several or our squad had played the night before, were starting to take their toll.

We started the second half well, with a series of phases bringing us into their strike zone and forcing a penalty. Max Moore converted, bringing us to within touching distance, 6 – 10. But that was as close as we would get for the afternoon. Within two minutes, the Wexford men would put a penalty back on us 6 – 13 and then soon came another 6 – 16.  As is so often the case, with our energy draining, their confidence grew. We emptied our bench, but already battered and bruised from the night before, JJ Walsh, Jerry Durkan, Cathal Boyle, like Luc Van Cauwelaert (who played over 120 minutes over both games!) try as they might, couldn’t add the stimulus required.

There was a slew of tries in the last 20 minutes as fatigue and a yellow card (“for acting the bollix”, according to Tadhg on the side) weighed heavily on us.

The final score was an apparently dispiriting 6 – 38, but in truth, this was a very brave performance from a squad that had had a very tough, and victorious encounter the week before against another J1 side and were bearing the inevitable scars of what has so far been a grueling, but their best campaign in five years.

And so, away with ye for a well earned mid term break to return to the frey refreshed two weeks from now.

 

Match Report – Brian Whelan

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