The South East League is underway for local rugby sides ahead of this year’s Leinster League openers.
This year’s regional round of games got underway on Sunday with Carlow on the road to Wicklow in the South East League Premier Division (J1) Group B.
As a curtain-raiser to the Leinster League campaign, both sides had agreed to use extra rolling subs to give more players game time.
Carlow v Wicklow Recap
With some new recruits for the new season, Carlow started brightly but the last 20 minutes saw Wicklow take over the lead and then putting a gloss on the result by scoring a converted try in the last play of the game.
Carlow opened the scoring with a Wes Shirley penalty to go 3 – 0 ahead.
Wicklow responded when their outhalf sliced through the Carlow defence to score under the posts on ten minutes.
Steve Ashmore’s men continued to dominate both territory and possession and re-took the lead with a Ronan Farrell try. This was extended about ten minutes later when Johnny Murphy crossed for a try. Wes Shirley converted again to put Carlow ahead 17-7.
In the last play before half time, Wicklow, in a rare foray into the Carlow twenty-twp, scored an unconverted try to close the gap to 17-12 at the break.
The Second Half
The second half was more even in terms of territory and possession. Wicklow scored a try to draw level but two Wes Shirley penalties had Carlow 23 – 17 ahead again with over an hour gone.
Both sides brought on a raft of substitutes for closing quarter, during which the pace and quality of the Leinster League Division 1A side began to show. Three Wicklow tries in the final 17 minutes, the third coming in the last play of the game, gave the home side a rather flattering margin in the context of the whole game.
Carlow, who battled hard, also had late chances.
Ritchie Whyte missed a penalty and David McDermott put Stuart O Malley away on the left only for the winger to be bundled into touch metres from the line.
From the resulting lineout, Wicklow broke out to run the length of the field to score on the final whistle.
While disappointed with the final margin, Carlow coach Steve Ashmore was glad to get 28 players on the pitch, with all players getting at least 20 minutes.
Kilkenny next out
Kilkenny are next out, heading to Oak Park to take on Carlow on Sunday 9 September, while Kilkenny host Wicklow at Foulkstown on 22 September.