Ashbourne Don’t Find The Sunny South East a Happy Place
Ashbourne did not get an festive cheer in Enniscorthy where the visitors were comprehensively beaten by 40 points to 8. The score line is misleading in as much as it was a close game till the final quarter when the home side stretched the lead to put the game out of sight.
Ashbourne played well in the first half and were asked to defend for long periods of time against current run away league leaders. Ashbourne were missing a few regulars but had a strong side out and were looking to taking something positive out of the game. Both sides played good rugby with Enniscorthy moving the ball well across their backline where they have a real strength. Ashbourne defended well and though under pressure they did not seem troubled by it.
It took till the 20th minute for Enniscorthy to get the break through when a miss pass to the right found space for the winger to get in for an unconverted try. Enniscorthy added two more penalties in the half but you felt that Ashbourne were still in it. And when the home side got a red card for a no arm tackle on Jake Wall you thought that this could be a turning point. Crotty converted the penalty and Ashbourne went into the break 11 points to 3 behind.
But Enniscorthy seem to respond to the 14 men scenario and lifted their game. The stuck early from the kicking tee with 3 points and then Connolly scored a well worked Ashbourne try from an extended period of pressure. When the ball eventaully came to the backs Connolly took the ball on and should great pace and strenght to score. The try was not converted. Down by 11 points to 8 you felt Ashbourne could get something here.
But the last 20 minutes were something that Ashbourne would like to forget conceeding 26 unanswered points and a very disappointing display. There is much work to be done before these sides meet again in 3 weeks time in the All Ireland Junior Cup final in Edenderry but the cability is there .
The 2nd XV also went down by 21 points to 8 but arte still one point clear of Enniscorthy in the league so next week local derbies against Dundalk are crucial to the outcome of the leagues for Ashbourne.
Next week the play Dundalk in Ashbourne in a double header for the 1st and 2nd XV’s. Both games are critical to keep the season on track.
Patrick Murtagh, Andrew Gibson, Colm Craigie, Mark Rooney, Matt Connolly, Donal Crotty (Capt.), Shane Bass, Frank Keegan, Danny Norton, Mark Behan, Sean Kent, Ciaran Roche, Conor Hurley, Justin Whittaker, Jake Wall
Subs: Brendan Meehan, Alan Wall, Adam Carberry, Gavin Kennedy, Dermot Colreavy
Tries: Matt Connolly x 1
Penalties: Donal Crotty x 1