Leinster League Div 2B
Athy Escape With Win
Wexford Wanderers 20 Athy 21
Athy travelled to Wexford looking for a win to keep them in the hunt for promotion from Div 2B of the league. A scrappy performance almost saw them come undone by bottom of the table Wexford Wanderers in a match that never really developed any rhythm and was characterised by multiple handling errors and missed opportunities. Wexford, perhaps benefitting from a few weeks break, started the game with energy although it was Athy who drew first blood in the 5th minute with a smart try scored by John Fraser. This followed an attacking line out move by Athy that came straight from the training field. Wexford, however, were not about to roll over and some sustained pressure saw them cross the line after 14 minutes from a quick tap when Athy were penalised for being in front of Richie Dunneâ€™s relieving kick. Wexford converted to leave the score 7 â€“ 5.
In the 19th minute a kick behind Wexford by Richie Dunne and pressure from Mark Beever resulted in Athy winning a 5m scrum. Wexford were penalised for an infringement and Mark Beever nailed the penalty to put Athy back in front. Wexford came back up the field and forced a number of penalties to win territory until eventually touching down and converting from a scrum in Athyâ€™s 22 to put them back in front. Stung by conceding this score Athy up their game and some quick attacking ball saw them win a penalty converted by Darren Byrne on 35 minutes. Athy maintained the pressure and a clearance kick fielded by Richie Dunne led to an Athy attack when some good interplay between Ciaran English and Davy Walsh saw English cross the line, converted by Beever leaving the half time score at 14 â€“ 18.
Athy started promisingly in the second half and went further ahead on 42 minutes through a Mark Beever penalty. Unfortunately for Athy this was as good as it got and the remainder of the half saw Wexford closing the gap through penalties on 47 and 52 minutes to leave the score at 20 â€“ 21. Although clearly the better team Athy could not pull away from Wexford with many promising moves breaking down giving Wexford cheap turnover ball in the process. This kept Wexford in the game and Athy were not able to take control. Athy might have been better to slow their game down and secure possession a bit more but instead continue to put pressure on themselves and concede penalties. A late penalty to Wexford gave them an opportunity to pull ahead 2 minutes into injury time with a very kickable shot. Thankfully for the Athy contingent at the match the penalty was missed and Athy escaped.