Two matches of thirty minutes a side awaited each team and Enniscorthy arrived pitch side to learn that Waterford- reformed after a seven year absence- had defeated Kilkenny 3-1. For the younger members of the panel it was their introduction to adult hockey as they took on the Cats. It was a hard-fought contest from start to finish. Enniscorthy began the match as outsiders against a team playing two divisions higher in Leinster but it developed into an even contest. The first half performance suggested a win was on the cards, and when Moritz Steffani scored his second of the game, it looked even more likely. Kilkenny, however, upped their game in the second period and the Enniscorthy defence became embroiled in ever more desperate challenges and a succession of short corners began chipping away at nerves. Keith Ogilvie was in robust form at the back; however, a penalty flick by Tristan Lynas secured a draw for Kilkenny with only two minutes remaining. It was a cruel blow after a strong team display.
After a thirty minute interval the second match dawned. This was, essentially, the final, as a win would secure the McBride Cup for Enniscorthy. Waterford, however, held a number of aces: a large squad; a long interval between matches; and plenty of experience throughout the side. The home team began at a fast pace, and goaled early on following a short corner. David Quinn at midfield was causing Enniscorthy all sorts of problems and his absence when rotated off was notable. Following the early whirlwind start Enniscorthy managed to get a foothold on the game, Jason Rothwell extracting a fine save from the Waterford 'keeper after a ferocious shot. Short corners, however, proved to be the downfall for Enniscorthy, as ultimately five out of the six Waterford goals came as a result of these plays. Tired legs in the Enniscorthy defence cost the sixth. A consolation goal by Robbie Walshe left the hosts victors on a scoreline of 6-1.
So, two games: a draw and a defeat. The bald facts make for grim reading but Enniscorthy heads can still be held high. A tremendous effort was put in- the tired and occasionally bloodied bodies paid testimony to that- but a team combining youth and experience has been forged in the cool and damp Waterford surroundings and an air of optimism pervades the camp. The new season, just two weeks away, awaits the panel.