By John Shirley
Rugby got going again in Carlow over the weekend when Oakpark hosted teams from Enniscorthy and Wicklow in the new season’s South East Cup.
Over the past month Carlow has had 30 or more players at pre season training sessions so having actual competitive matches again was both a relief and a delight. However spectators were still not permitted and players and management had to obey strict protocols.
In the two games played, Carlow 1sts had a good 31 to 20 point win over Enniscorthy but the 2nds lost by 33 to 28 points against Wicklow despite having a lead of 21pts to nil early in the match.
Carlow 1st 31 Enniscorthy 20
After an evenly contested first half Carlow led by 6 to 3 pts at the interval thanks to 2 penalties converted by Harry Hennessey playing at number 10.
Ten minutes into the 2nd half Carlow found themselves 13 – 9 in arrears after a visitor penalty plus converted try trumped another home penalty.
After this home team enjoyed a period of supremacy which was graced with four good tries. A try by Carlow second rower Jack Hickie restored the home side lead. This was followed by a try from speedy winger Rory Carbery which brought the score to 19 – 13 in favour of the Oakpark side.
New season’s Carlow captain Ross Elmes ran a 50 metre burst from his own half and offloaded for Carbery to score his second try.
An Enniscorthy converted try closed the gap to Carlow 26 visitors 20 but an obviously Elmes scored a late try to stretch the gap back out to 11 points.
After the match Carlow players said goodbye for the time being to Club stalwart Harry Hennessey who in heading abroad for work. On the plus side Carlow welcomed full back John Crossley from Kilkenny College and prop Barry Dooley from Clongowes Wood 2020 Leinster Schools cup side. Carlow 1st next South East outing is away to Gorey over the weekend of 19/20 September.
Carlow 1st team
John Crossley, Dominic Rice, Sam Cullen, Liam Slater, Rory Carbery, Harry Hennessey, John Whyte, Barry Dooley, John Farrell, Ross Byrne, John Lyons, Jack Hickie, Chris Challe, John Murphy, Ross Elmes.
Subs. Larry McGrath, Neil Slater, Tomas McDonnell, Peter Hennessey.
Carlow 2nds 28 Wicklow 33.
Reinforced with a number of players from last season’s cup winning Under 18 team, Carlow seconds began this game in style running in three tries without reply. Tries by Rhys Edgehill, Daniel Crotty, and Cormac McElligott were all converted by last season’s Club captain Richard Whyte playing in the centre.
Then Carlow ran out energy. A lack of fitness allowed an eager Wicklow side back into the game. Despite being in Division 1A of the Leinster League, Wicklow failed to enter their 1st side into this season’s South East Cup competitions. This has given extra selection scope for their 2nds side.
In addition to their fitness issues Carlow lost Leinster Under 19 squad player Cormac McElligott to injury.
The Wicklow comeback started in their pack. Their young side chipped away at the Carlow lead with four rumbled tries. With only 5 minutes left it was hoped that Carlow could still hang on to their 28 – 26 lead but another converted try sent the visitors back home with an important away victory.
Next weekend Carlow 2nds welcome another East Wicklow side to Oakpark when they line up against Arklow in the South East Cup.
Paul Walshe and Eddie Keating are hopeful that the new on-line teaching in 3rd level will allow more young Carlow born players to base themselves at home and stay playing rugby in Carlow.
Ben Crotty Tom McDonnell, Tomas Dunne, Richard Whyte, Eoin Rea, Daniel Crotty, Josh Cope, Owen Edgehill, Evan Gordon, Rudi Corcoran, Shea Somers, Mark Walsh, Scott Neale, Steven Treacy, Rhys Edgehill.
Subs Jack Bermingham, JD Swayne, Sean Southgate, Mick Sheeran, Cormac McElligott