Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup Quarter-Final round-up
April 3, 2018 10:38 am Site Editor
The Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup Quarter-Finals took place on Easter Saturday and there was plenty of high-scoring and entertaining encounters around the province.
There will be three Division 1A sides in the semi-finals along with reigning champions and Division 1B outfit, Tullow RFC, bidding to make it through the final.
Favourites Ashbourne RFC, along with Wicklow RFC and Enniscorthy RFC, all justified their favourites tags, while Tullow came out on top against 1A side Gorey.
Enniscorthy RFC 62 Clondalkin RFC 10
Enniscorthy made no mistake on Saturday afternoon as they advanced to the last four in fine style. The Division 1A runners-up were the hot favourites going into the game facing a Clondalkin side facing a relegation/promotion playoff in the coming weeks to maintain their place in Division 1B.
With home advantage also on their side, the Wexford men had too much class on the day. They were on their game right from the start and had 26 points on the board before Clondalkin got their first score.
Tries from Daniel Pim, Nick Doyle and Ivan Poole helped put them into a 19-0 lead before a superb pass from Arthur Dunne sent Ivan Jacob away to make it 26-0.
Clondalkin got a try back before the break but Enniscorthy had one foot in the semi-final by half-time as they led 26-5.
Any chance of a Clondalkin comeback was thwarted early in the second half with Dave Dwyer going over for his side’s fifth try of the day before a Tom Ryan try made it 38-5. The tries kept coming and they included a second for Ryan and Jacob with Poole also contributing heavily with the boot.
It was plain sailing for the Wexford men as they backed up their league standing and move on to a semi-final tussle with Ashbourne.
Wicklow RFC 24 Skerries RFC 2nd XV 10
Wicklow, 2016 Towns Cup champions, are back into the last four after they came through a stern examination against Skerries seconds.
While there may have been 12 points in it in by the end, the match itself was a tough affair with the Wicklow men deserving to come out on the right side. They were boosted by an early try worked from a five-metre lineout but a Skerries penalty kept things tight early on.
A bit of daylight started to creep in with their second try as Billy Ngawini crossed to make it 12 -3. Skerries mounted the pressure and probably should have scored again before the break but for some outstanding Wicklow defence.
Scores were hard to come by in the second half. The next one would be crucial and it went to Wicklow with 15 minutes to go as Ben Porter crossed the whitewash in the corner.
With just under 10 minutes to go, Wes Wojnar pounced on a loose ball and touched down to make it 24-3 and make the game safe. Skerries did add a converted try before the finish but there was no denying Wicklow their semi-final spot as they move on to face last year’s champions Tullow.
Ashbourne RFC 38 Cill Dara RFC 7
This was always going to be a massive task for Cill Dara as the Division 2A side travelled to the home of the Leinster League Division 1A champions, Ashbourne.
In the end, it was a big win for Ashbourne as they justified their favourites tag and kept alive their treble hopes having already won the All-Ireland Junior Cup and the league.
An early try for Ashbourne, against the run of play somewhat, set them on their way before Stephen O’Neill scored a super try as he caught the ball on halfway and ran in a superb individual try to make it 12-0.
Despite resting a few regulars ahead of their upcoming round-robin series, Ashbourne added a third try before the break to give themselves a 19-0 lead.
Cill Dara needed something early in the second half but it was Ashbourne who crossed for their fourth try through Darcy Fergus. At 26-0, that was the game sewn up on 47 minutes.
Brendan Meehan got in for their fifth try before the end and while Cill Dara did manage a consolation try, their brave effort wasn’t enough as the in-form team in Leinster now move on to a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Enniscorthy.
Gorey RFC 19 Tullow RFC 25
The closest match of the day came in Gorey as reigning champions Tullow edged past their hosts. Tullow will be the only team from outside Division 1A in the semi-finals and they were made work for it.
Gorey took a while to get going and Tullow pounced on their slow start by going 20-0 up after 30 minutes. Tries from Scott Caldback and Steve Smith set them on their way before Gorey finally got on the scoreboard just before half-time as the champions led 20-7.
With the next score either going to put the result beyond doubt or spark it into life, the men from Wexford put themselves right back into the mix with an early second-half try from Paul O’Connor making it 20-14.
Tullow soon struck with a try from Augustine Mafoe to make it an 11-point game. With only minutes to go, Gorey hit back with a try of their own from Paul O’Connor to set up an exciting last few minutes.
That was to be the end of the scoring, however, as Tullow won out 25-19 and now move on to face Wicklow in the semi-final in what will be a clash of the previous two winners of the famed cup.
Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Semi-Final raw
Both games to be played in Cill Dara RFC on 15th April
Wicklow RFC v Tullow RFC (KO 2pm)
Ashbourne RFC v Enniscorthy RFC (KO 4pm)