Matches between the two sides are usually tight affairs, and this was no exception. However, this latest edition took an unusual early twist as Edmundas Liukimas netted twice in the early stages of the first half, allowing Enniscorthy to race into a two goal lead. His first came on fifteen minutes courtesy of a deflection off a Wicklow defender following a drag flick, after a rare penalty corner for the Slaneysiders. The second arrived six minutes later, after neat combination work between Roy Chapman and Liam Jowett on the right brought the ball inside the semi-circle and Liukimas showed no little skill in reverse flicking the ball into the bottom corner.
If Enniscorthy expected the hosts to wither away they were very much mistaken, and the Wicklow men dominated the remainder of the half, earning a flurry of penalty corners but were denied by some excellent goalkeeping by Graham Hill, while one such effort- a drag flick- went narrowly over the bar. The Wexford sides defence of Clive Rothwell, Simmons, Ivan Rothwell and Vietch were strong in their duties and kept a very young and skilful forward line at bay.
The pressure continued in the second half of what was a feisty encounter- Glenn Chapman and Cian Hogan receiving green cards for the visitors- with the men in orange pulling one back on 50 minutes. They had earned plenty of penalty corners but until then had been unable to unpick the well drilled Enniscorthy defensive runners of David Simmons, Roy Chapman, Andrew Rothwell and Glenn Chapman along with Hill in goal. A penalty corner was pushed to the top of the semi-circle, switched to the right and then back across in an effort to stretch the defence. Andrew Rothwell was able to force his Wicklow counterpart out wide but from a tight angle a well-hit reverse stick shot looped over Hill and found a gap past David Simmons protecting the goal line. Enniscorthy continued to push up the pitch and with an abundance of fresh legs available up front, Doyle used Durnan, Hogan, Cooke, Rogan and Jason Rothwell to great effect, stretching Wicklow and making it hard for them to push forward in search of a second goal.
A frantic finish followed as both sides desperately fought for the three points- Wicklow being especially dangerous in attack but unable to convert their opportunities- but Enniscorthy were the jubilant side at the final whistle. With just two matches remaining the Wexford side have a three point lead over Wicklow. A final home game of the season beckons for Donal Doyle's men on Saturday at 12noon against Clontarf, and with promotion assured, title ambitions are still very much in their hands.
Enniscorthy Squad: Graham Hill; Clive Rothwell; David Simmons; Martyn Vietch; Ivan Rothwell; Andrew Rothwell; Glenn Chapman; Roy Chapman; Liam Jowett; Cory Cooke; Edmundas Liukimas; William Durnan; Jason Rothwell; Pearse Rogan; Cian Hogan. Coach: Donal Doyle. Manager: Fraser Rothwell.