Monkstown FC 13 – 12 Wicklow RFC
All across the wire in the days leading up to Saturdays clash, people were discussing the importance and variables of the Monsktown Wicklow division1b clash. Opinions were rarely divided on the outcome being a Monsktown win and pundits alike agreed that whatever the result, Monday morning’s league table was going to be interesting.
An almost guaranteed win by league leaders Tullow over Carlow meant that if Monkstown won, with Wicklow sitting just below them, a clear gap would emerge between the top two and the chasing pack. Were Monkstown to lose and drop into third, Tullow would surely have their sights set on a league they have so far dominated.
And so it went, Monkstown began the days affairs with a list of last minute changes. Padraig Twomey bravely stepping in to the number 10 slot as he has so often done to fill the role of an absent Dave McAllister. This meant that captain David Kilbride was promoted into the number 12 jersey while Robbie Ensor took charge at fullback.
The game started at a frenetic pace with Monkstown leading the attack from the off. Two early Kyle Kirkpatrick penalties saw Monkstown ease into a 6-0 lead before the inevitable backlash from the visitors ensued. Wicklow came into this game on the back of a rich vein of recent form, and that was evident in Sydney Parade on Sunday as they attacked with vigour. Centre Ken Copeland ran some hard lines early on but he was handled well all day through the combined efforts of Rory Alright and Dave Kilbride. The half wore on and despite the mounting pressure from the home side, two penalties from Wicklow saw the sides level on a 6-6 scoreline by halftime.
As the second half commenced Monkstown rang the changes bringing on 3 subs to bolster the ranks on an industrious and bruising days work. An early penalty from the visitors meant Town were behind for the first time, 6-9.
From the boot of Dave Morris and Padraig Twomey, the home side maintained pressure on the visitors and from a turnover by David Kilbride and quickly recycled ruck, the ball saw its way through two sets of hands before arriving in the breadbasket of Robbie Ensor. The newcomer to Sydney Parade made his way down the left flank from over 50 metres out to touchdown for the first and only try of the day. The Town crowd on the bank went wild! Kirkpatrick nailed a superb conversion from the touchline and at 13-6 things looked somewhat more comfortable.
Wicklow however were not yet done and much of the remaining quarter was spent deep in Monkstown territory. A brace of missed penalties by Wicklow seemed to have let Monkstown off the hook, but it wasn’t long before Copeland found his range and landed two successful kicks to close the gap and ramp up the pressure late on. With the scoreboard now at 13-12 Monkstown hearts began to race. An immense performance from the Blue and Gold pack followed as they went toe to toe with the visitors for almost 15 minutes. As the match went into injury time Wicklow were once again forcing their way towards the Monkstown line when a heroic steal by Jeff Draper lifted the siege and cleared their lines. Some brilliant and intelligent clock management at the death saw the final whistle sound and the impressive Monkstown defence stood firm.
This Monkstown 1st XV are building an impressive “never say die” reputation, delivering results through guts, determination and pride in the jersey. The D4 men also maintain a proud record of having conceded no tries this season on their home patch. Next Sunday presents a huge opportunity as Town face off against an impressive Tullow outfit in a top of the table clash away from home.
Robbie Ensor (1 try), Kyle Kirkpatrick (1 conversion and 2 penalties)
15. Robbie Ensor
14. Dan O Connor
13. Rory Alwright
12. David Kilbride (c)
11. Kyke Kirkpatrick
10. Padraig Twomey
9. Dave Morris
8. Omar Hassanein
7. Jeff Draper
6. Jack Harte
5. Arnie MAhon
4. Ross Bradshaw
3. James Clifford
2. Barry Stevenson
1. Ivan Dunne