Kilkenny travelled to Enniscorthy last Sunday for the first round of the South East League and the first competitive fixture of the 2010/2011 season. They were expecting a tough encounter and that’s what transpired at the Ross Road grounds.
Kilkenny started well from the kick-off with excellent scrums, lineouts and defence and used a slight wind advantage to good effect.
As always, this clash was going to be intense. Kilkenny’s recent record against Enniscorthy favours the Wexford outfit. Enniscorthy are the current South East League champions. To be fair to Kilkenny it was their first outing of the season while Enniscorthy already had three previous pre-season fixtures. With another three games to come in this competition it’s all to play for with fixtures against Tullow, Arklow and Wexford to look forward to.
From the kick-off Kilkenny tackled the game head on. They were first on the score sheet after 15 minutes with a penalty converted by outhalf Dave McMahon, following an Enniscorthy offside from a ruck, 23 metres out on the right hand side. Kilkenny missed another penalty on 18 minutes. Enniscorthy responded with a try coming from the pack on the 24th minute, the conversion attempt went wide. Kilkenny’s Dave McMahon used the wind advantage, he kicked well to the corners with excellent chasing from wingers Alan O’Donovan and Mick O’Grady. McMahon also converted another penalty in the third minute of extra time, giving the Noresiders a one point lead with a half-time score of 6-5.
Kilkenny were to commence the second half without the influential Alan McIntyre who, owing to injury, was replaced by Ray Pembroke in the 33rd minute of the first half. The second half opened with a penalty on 45 minutes from Enniscorthy outhalf Conor Poole. Poole was to convert yet another penalty on the 50th minute. Kilkenny’s indiscipline saw them concede too many penalties, to allow Poole to increase his points tally. Eight minutes later Enniscorthy crossed the Kilkenny tryline after some well worked phases, finished off by good handling from their backs. This was again converted by Poole. Another converted penalty to Enniscorthy on 62 minutes saw the game go away from Kilkenny, but to their credit they regrouped and scored a try by the formidable prop forward Wayne Kavanagh. Further hard work went unrewarded when Enniscorthy replied with a converted try on 71 minutes. The final eight minutes belonged to Kilkenny, as they tried, in vain, to improve their scoreline but it was a little too late.