At Ashtown Lane on Saturday, Wicklow saw a dominant first-half performance as he trounced his southeastern rivals Wexford Wanderers. The hosts played some very good free-flowing rugby throughout the game in tough conditions.
Wicklow begins the affair in a loud fashion and stunned the audience with its high intensity from the start. Out-half Brian Johnson hit the first penalty of the game after just two minutes on the clock. Johnson’s central kick from just outside Wexford 22 gave the home team an early lead.
Vikov quickly dominated most of the possession and after being awarded another penalty, the Ashtown Lane outfit kicked for the touch.
Hooker TJ Kennedy’s inch-perfect throw found the hands of the always-reliable Ricardo Whelan. The Wicklow Pack opted for a maul that pushed them over the line and TJ Kennedy ended the game enough that he began adding Wicklow’s first attempt of the game.
Brian Johnson was tasked with a hard kick from an acute angle close to the side-line. Johnson made no mistake and added a conversion after the opening ten minutes to give Wicklow a ten-point advantage.
The Wanderers evolved in the game and saw more of the ball after Wicklow’s quick start. Flanker Hugh Roche and prop Jack Cullen both made several big carries to propel their side at Wicklow 22.
After stages of possession inside Wicklow half, Wexford through his out-half Ronan O’Reilly down the blindside. O’Reilly tried to land Ciaran Kelly, but Wicklow winger Ciaran Mathews made a crucial, effort-saving interception to end the Wexford attack.
The packs on both sides enjoyed some great fighting throughout the game, with Wicklow’s Darragh McCormack and Sanon Kelly making some big carries and tackles during the match.
At the end of half-time, a Brian Johnson penalty gave the home team a chance to add more points to the scoreboard before the interval.
Wicklow opted for another rolling mall on the Wexford Five Meter Line. TJ Kennedy finished with the ball again, this time peeling down the blindside to score his second attempt of the game and giving Wicklow a 15-point advantage as Wicklow went into half-time.
The hosts started the second half as they finished the first and were rewarded with another effort a few minutes into the half. Quick foot off the center, Will Fitzpatrick, caused the Wexford defense to be in great trouble.
Fitzpatrick danced around the tackle before landing the ball at No. 8, Senon Kelly, who sidelined Wexford’s full-back Daniel Mulvihill, before diving over the try line to extend his lead.
Wicklow’s defense was very strong during the second period but was broken in the final game of the game. Wexford’s Jack Cullen released Hugh Roche to run over the try line to cut the hosts’ 22 and cut the deficit. Ronan O’Reilly added extra points for his team, but it was not enough to steal the win from Wicklow.
Wicklow: Darragh McCormack (c), TJ Kennedy (10 points), Cormack Murphy; Kuan Beerne, Jack McCall; Jack McConnell, Ricardo Whelan, Sanon Kelly (5 points); Eric Peterson, Brian Johnson (5 points); Will Fitzpatrick, Hugo Kelly; Brendan Stone, Ciaran Matthews, William Fitzpatrick. Substitutions: Eric Peterson for William Clark (42), Luke Dunn for William Fitzpatrick (42), Ben Harris (48) for Brendan Stone, Theo Pennell (52) for Ben Johnston, Logan for Cormac Murphy (52) Ellis, Jack McCall (52) for Niall Connolly, Darragh Carey for Jack McConnell (54).
Wexford Wanderers: Duncan Raton, Diarmuid Murtagh, Jack Cullen; Eoin Dodd, Oscar Barry; Jonah Berry, Hugh Roche (5 points), Scott Murphy; Eoin Gleeson, Ronan O’Reilly (2 points); Ciaran Kelly, Sean Log; Dermot Hogan, Chris Frawley, Daniel Mulvihill.