Wicklow staged a smash and grab raid to claim their first points of the season as they beat Enniscorthy’s men’s first XI at a rain-swept Astro Active Centre on Saturday.
Both sides had varying fortunes heading into their latest derby clash, the Garden County men suffered two heavy reverses at the hands of Weston and Three Rock Rovers respectively, while Donal Doyle’s side had beaten UCD before a dramatic comeback just fell short against Rathgar.
The hosts started brightly, Liuikimas and William Durnan both made early circle penetrations but it was Wicklow who earned the first penalty corner of the match. The early exchanges, set the tone for much of the match, Enniscorthy found it easier to work their way inside their opponents circle, but Wicklow were the more threatening when it came to penalty corners.
Captain Graham Hill was called into action, he divied to keep Wicklow at bay on thirteen minutes.
Rynhart looped an effort over the bar on sixteen minutes and this effort was followed by O’Leary interception of a poor Wicklow hit-out, but Charlie Dunne’s shot was blocked. Shortly after the Wicklow goalkeeper dived outside the circle, this left the goal relatively unguarded but the host’s attack broke down and Wicklow scrambled clear.
There was controversy on the interval whistle as Wicklow earned two penalty corners in quick succession, the first after a classy turn into the circle by a Wicklow attacker nudged the ball onto an Enniscorthy foot. Wicklow thought they had the lead as their shot ended up in the back of the net, but umpire Niall Byrne ruled the rising ball a danger and the sides remained deadlocked at the break.
Enniscorthy started the second half much the brighter following a prolonged half time team talk, earning five circle penetrations in the opening three minutes, Rynhart caused plenty of trouble for the visiting defence, Liuikimas and William Durnan proved tricky customers as Enniscorthy dominated possession without creating any clear-cut opportunities.
Wicklow gradually clawed their way back into the game, a superb diving from from Hill kept the Enniscorthy goal intact fifteen minutes after the restart and shortly after Wicklow were awarded a long corner. Once again it was at a penalty corner where the men in orange and green were at their most dangerous, the ball avoided several defensive sticks to trickle over the line.
Enniscorthy earned several penalty corners of their own after that, Roy Chapman put plenty of pressure on the Wicklow backs with a number of crash balls, but a calm defensive effort ensured the three points went up the N11. A tough encounter at second-placed Pembroke Wanderers awaits Donal Doyle’s side on Saturday, and there is sure to be plenty of soul-searching in the camp following this defeat.
Squad: Graham Hill, Glenn Chapman, David Simmons, Ivan Rothwell, Andrew Rothwell, Seb Rynhart, Roy Chapman, Craig Symes, Corey Cooke, William Durnan, Edmundas Liuikimas, Charlie Dunne, Aodhán O’Leary, Leo Durnan. Coach Donal Doyle. Manager Fraser Rothwell. Umpires Niall Byrne & Ciaran Bolger.