City of Derry have no complaints as classy Enniscorthy claim bonus point win

Energia All Ireland League Division 2C

Saturday, 9th October 2021, 10:22 pm
Updated Saturday, 9th October 2021, 10:24 pm
Callum O'Hagan dives over the white wash to score a first half try for City of Derry. (Photo: George Sweeney)

City of Derry 10, Enniscorthy 48

The best team doesn't always win.....but usually it does.

There were few complaints at Judges Road on Saturday as City of Derry went down to an Enniscorthy side that had 'title challengers' stamped all over them as they ran in seven tries during a display full of power, pace and intensity.

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Richard McCarter's men were second best and the only real disappointment, if there was one, was that they still had opportunities to grab a try scoring bonus in a vastly improved second half performance. The result was a mere formality by that stage with Enniscorthy having already secured their bonus point thanks to a four-try first half that sent them into the break 29-5 ahead and in total control.

And yet there was still positive signs for Richard McCarter, none more so than the returning Callum O'Hagan who helped himself to a brace of tries either side of half-time in the type of performance that makes his recent absence all the more frustrating. Throw the likes of O'Hagan, Davy Graham Simon Logue, Neil Burns and David Lapsley into the Derry first team panel and suddenly the potential attacking threat would match anything in the league.

That's the dream for McCarter as the various casualties work their way back and even with the caveat that Enniscorthy were a level above Derry here, the current bad run of luck continue with both Cathal Cregan and Steven Corr forced off injured. Indeed, McCarter was forced into a complete front row reshuffle inside 10m minutes as first Adam Marley, and then Cregan, were forced off the field.

Marley was patched up enough to continue but McCarter must have smashed numerous mirrors to bring on the sort of injury luck Derry are enduring at present.

Even at full strength though, this would have been a tough ask. The Wexford men were strong, fast, mobile and ruthless. Their ability to shift the tall Nick Doyle from his normal position in the second row to centre where he produced a 'Man of the Match' display, including two superb individual tries, illustrates perfectly the type of rugby Enniscorthy played and on a hard, fast pitch conducive to flowing rugby, they simply had too much for the young home side.

O'Hagan's after noon started with a superb try-saving tackle on the jet heeled Kevin O'Connor but it was only a matter of time before Enniscorthy broke the deadlock and following a Ivan Poole penalty, Derry were punished after initially winning their line-out by being turned over and countered with big visiting No. 8 Timmy Morrissey eventually touching down for a try Poole converted and a 10-0 lead after 13 minutes.

Derry were struggling in the set-piece with Enniscorthy totally dominant in the scrum and line-out and it was little surprise when when Doyle danced through four tackles to add a second try on 24 minutes with Poole again adding the extras.

Doyle's centre partner Daniel Pim was next on the scoresheet when he followed up a kick forward neither O'Connor nor O'Hagan could gather to stroll over for an easy score and a 22 point lead.

To their credit Derry were never out of it and eventually got themselves on the scoreboard when a lovely move saw the home side go through the phases before switching right where O';Hagan's pace took him over.

At 22-5, Derry still had an outside chance but a fourth Enniscorthy try right on half-time killed the game as a contest and it should never have stood after referee Keane Davison appeared to miss a blatant forward pass in the build up to O'Connor scoring but the 24 point lead did not flatter the visitors.

Enniscorthy added a fifth try on 54 minutes, ironically seconds after O'Hagan looked like he was getting away for an intercept try. When the Derry winger was penalised for offside, Derry feel asleep and a quick tap allowed Davy O'Dwyer to run in at the corner.

The second half was a much more even affair but Derry failed to capitalise on some great pitch positions, O'Hagan held up under the posts on one occasion before the winger eventually finished a lovely Derry move that had gone through numerous phases.

Two late Enniscorthy tries from Shane Lynch and Doyle only added gloss to the scoreline. The game was long gone and Derry have no complaints. This one can be chalked down to experience against a good side, but it's the standard Derry have to aim for.

City of Derry: Chris Shields, Cathal Cregan, Adam Marley, Joshua Hannah, David Brown, Eoin McDonald, Tiernan Thornton, Stephen Corr, Jamie Millar, Alex McDonald, Calum O'Hagan, Patrick Blenerhassett, Ross McLaughlin, Jack Beattie, Colm Cregan. (Replacements) Troy Wilson, Dara Gill, Aaron Deery, Phil Duffy, Matthew Orr.

Enniscorthy: Angleo Todisco, Davie Murphy, MJ Doyle, Liam Stamp, David Farrell, Brian Bolger, Niall Parker, Timmy Morrissey, Arthur Dunne, Ivan Poole, David O'Dwyer, Daniel Pim, Nick Doyle, Kevin O'Connor, Ivan Jacob. (Replacements) Jamie Barron, Conor Byrne, Shane Lynch, Mikey Nolan, Ben Kidd.

Referee: Keane Davison