Enniscorthy started with the same team as started in the semi-final against St. Brendan’s Phoenix Park. The Slaneysiders came out all guns blazing from the early stages and it was clear to see they wanted to end the season on a high and earn themselves some silverware. For the first 15 minutes the majority of the pressure was coming from Enniscorthy, with the defence of PJ Pierce, Clive Rothwell, David Simmons and Andrew Rothwell being the quieter of the teams. The midfield of Alan Smith, Liam Jowett and Glenn Chapman was essential to this as through their determination and defensive efforts kept North Kildare largely out of their defensive half of the pitch. Enniscorthy broke the deadlock after Liam Jowett took a quick free just outside the North Kildare circle passing to Glenn Chapman who linked up with his brother Roy. Roy’s initial shot was blocked, but the waiting Jowett scored on the rebound. The South East men continued to push on and soon scored their second, from a short corner. Roy Chapman’s shot rebounded out, which Clive Rothwell capitalised on and brought the score to 2-0. North Kildare come more into the game after this and were awarded a number of short corners, but the Enniscorthy short corner defence along with keeper Hill kept the ball out. With the pace and tempo of the game being extremely high, fatigue was beginning to become visible, Enniscorthy needed the halftime break to come as soon as possible. North Kildare took advantage of Enniscorthy’s fatigue and scored their opener of the game just before half time with a deflection shot that was out of keeper Graham Hills reach.
Captain Hill rallied his troops and with wise words from Donal Doyle and Fraser Rothwell, got their men watered and ready to go again.
The second half started with North Kildare continuing as they had finished the final stages of the first half. The Enniscorthy men weren’t going to make it easy for them and settled into the half and scored their third goal of their game. Roy Chapman after being involved in both of the previous goals scored one for himself after a short corner shot from Jason Rothwell rebounded out. North Kildare knew the Kildare side wasn’t going to give up and were forced to defend for long periods of the second half. The Kilcock side earned themselves a number of short corners throughout the second half and on a ball hitting the foot of an Enniscorthy player in the circle were awarded a penalty flick. The North Kildare captain stood up to take it and put the ball just out of the reach of Hill. With this it went to 3-2 to Enniscorthy with 15 minutes to go. The large travelling support for Enniscorthy cheered their men on and were no doubt getting nervous of North Kildare who were getting back into the game and making the final quarter very interesting. The Kildare side pushed and attacked the defence of Enniscorthy. They were again awarded a number of short corners, which Graham Hill and his runners did their best to keep out, but were unable to keep out the shoot by Mark Seery who scored the goal that levelled it up with less than 10 minutes to go. Both sides were giving it their all and the forwards of Niall Maguire, Jason Rothwell and John McWey for Enniscorthy did their best to get the winning goal. With time running out Daithi Medcalf and Roy Chapman switch positions, putting Roy in centre midfield and the young Medcalf centre forward. The winning goal came from the new centre forward Medcalf after Jowett won the ball on half way. He passed it off to Jason Rothwell who after eliminating a Kildare player slotted the ball through to Medcalf. Medcalf’s stick work helped him find his way passed two players and excellently flicked it over the oncoming diving keeper. The final whistle blew less than a minute later as the game finished with a win for the PureOil sponsored South East men of Enniscorthy Hockey Club.
Credit has to be given to North Kildare that never once gave up fighting after being 3-1 down to getting back to level it with three goals a piece. It was a great game between the only two teams from outside Dublin to have ever won the Walters Cup over it 50 years on the go.
Enniscorthy Squad: Graham Hill; Clive Rothwell; David Simmons; PJ Pierce; Andrew Rothwell; Glenn Chapman; Alan Smith; Liam Jowett; Roy Chapman; Jason Rothwell; Niall Maguire; Daithi Medcalf; John McWey; Ivan Rothwell; Jacob English; Eamon Sweeney. Coach: Donal Doyle; Manager: Fraser Rothwell