Barry O’Connor Lines Out For Wexford Wanderers Following Return From Australia

Both Wexford Wanderer’s first team and second team were in action over the weekend…

For the second home game in a row Wexford Wanderers started at a blistering pace. Keeping the North Kildare defence pinned in their own 22. On the 15 minute mark, full back Stuart Hession cut open the away side’s defensive line and stormed across for the games opening try.

Donal Buckely added the conversion. Moments later the incredible pace of Kevin O’Mahony
saw the winger leave the Kildare defence for dust and show intelligent vision as he popped it out to Sean Kelly for the inside centre to touch down. Buckley again converted making it 14-0 to the home side.

A converted try on the half hour mark brought North Kildare back into the game, before
O’Mahony evaded the tackles of two North men on the wing and powered over the line in the corner to increase Wexford’s lead. Buckley was unlucky not to add the extras from the touchline as the swirling wind denied the number 10. North Kildare were not to be denied before the break and a well worked line out set piece move ended in a try that Wexford will not want to look back on.

Converted easily in front of the posts making it 19-14 at the interval in a half of intense rugby by both sides. Roles were reversed at the start of the second half as it was the visitors who put early pressure on and went over for their third try of the game only 4 minutes into the half, converting to take a 21-19 lead.

The atmosphere in Park Lane lifted as both sets of fans knew the battle ensuing
would determine how the league might shape up before Christmas.

An intense battle ensued in the final quarter of the game and it was the boot of Buckley who steered Wexford into a 1 point lead, converting from distance. A few moments of ill discipline might come back to haunt the Park Lane men as North Kildare took the smart 3 points from a penalty infringement in front of the posts and got back in position to defend the 24-22 lead.

A huge penalty win in the final seconds gave Wanderers a life line, with no time to run a play it was Colm O’Corcora who stepped up from just inside the Kildare half with a kick against a
swirling wind to try and win it for Wexford. The crowd held their breath and it felt like time stood still as the ball left the boot of the number 12, who easily had the distance, but as the assistants flags remained at their side it was deemed to tail wide, the visitors taking the win.

The result leaves Wexford and North Kildare tied on 12 points in the league, batched together with neighbours New Ross in a group Wanderers had hoped to pull away from before the visit to unbeaten league leaders De La Salle Palmerstown in two weeks time. Sean Kelly was named Man of the Match for Wexford, the inside centre impressing with tries in back to back home games.

FINAL SCORE: Wanderers 22-24 North Kildare

Second team:
In a first half where both defensive lines fronted the opposition up, it was easy to see this was going to be a tactical battle for points. Fantastic displays of tackle technique by both teams meant a 0-0 scoreline at the break.

You get the feeling if the sides weren’t playing each other they would have scored 3 or 4 tries each in the opening stages. Wexford made use of the numbers in the squad and introduced Mick Codd, Barry O’Connor, Chris Glover and John Gannon at the break.

The returning Barry O’Connor made an instant impact, almost scoring the opening try before a powerful run from the experienced John Turner saw the back row touch down for the opening try and a 5-0 lead.

Kildare found their kicking boots and slotted over a penalty to keep the scores close, but on 51 minutes a sumptuous kick in behind the visitors defence from Codd found Bobby Connolly, the winger going over the line for a 10-3 lead to the home side. A lapse in an otherwise dominant defensive line from Wexford saw Kildare power over under the posts on 67 minutes, converting to level the game.

A draw was probably a fair result as both sides showed incredible displays of defensive unity and tackling technique, easy to see why they are level on points in the league. The Man of the Match for Wexford was inside centre Cormac Burke, a solid display of tackling and work rate from the young Wanderer.

FULL TIME: Wanderers 10-10 North Kildare

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