Enniskillen RFC Notes: Under 12’s win by one point in the last seconds

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On a cold, wet and windy Saturday morning on the main pitch under the balcony of the new Letterkenny GAA and Rugby Football Club clubhouse Enniskillen and Letterkenny Under 12’s teams provided the most entertaining match of the day watched by, amongst others, Brian Williams, the President of the All Blacks who was there to perform the opening of the Clubhouse later in the day. Letterkenny with the bigger and more mature looking team opened the scoring in the first five minutes with a converted try and it wasn’t just the weather that was looking ominous. However, Enniskillen literally warmed up by expending a great deal of energy and finally matching Letterkenny in the forwards with some determined rucking which sent outhalf Jack O’Haire away with a jinking run to score an unconverted try. An admirable forward battle ensued in the middle of the park with Aaron Clarke, Conan Leonard and John Allan beginning to dominate a well drilled Letterkenny pack. They soon moved the play close enough to the Letterkenny line for scrum half Matthew Browne to dart over and put Enniskillen 10:7 up at half time.

Unfortunately Enniskillen appeared to stiffen up during the icy half time break and some poor tackling allowed Letterkenny to score two try’s in quick succession, one of which they converted. Once again Enniskillen put some “heat” into the game and brought play up into the Letterkenny half where Jack O’Haire displayed some fine footballing skills to dribble the ball in from the 22 metre line and dive on the ball bringing the score to 19:15 in the home side’s favour. Sadly, having got themselves back into the match a lack of commitment in the tackle allowed the tall and rangy Letterkenny no. 4 to go over in the corner to leave it 24:15 with just 4 minutes to go.

Both teams looked dead on their feet at this stage, whether from exhaustion or exposure it was hard to tell. During the next Letterkenny attack Foud Gharaab, playing at full back, rescued the ball from the Letterkenny forward rush saving what was a very probable try which he then turned into a 25 metre break up field. This turn of fortune seemed to inspire the Enniskillen side who forwards a series of “pick and go”plays to allow flanker, Christopher Balfour to cross the line and bring the score to 24:25.

Most of us assumed the game was over at that stage but the referee allowed a restart. The ball was fielded and channelled to Harry Dane on the wing. Harry ran from the halfway line with the Letterkenny players chasing him towards the try line. His tiring legs gave up 3 metres short but fortunately Matthew Browne had followed up and was able to pop a pass to Jack O’Haire to go over his third try of the match. Despite the gale blowing the conversion attempt straight across the face of the uprights. Enniskillen had made it by one point with the last play of the game.

Both teams were warmly congratulated on a very entertaining and hugely competitive game of rugby but the last compliment has to go to the entire Enniskillen squad who showed great determination and considerable resilience to snatch the victory on an historical day for Letterkenny Rugby Club.

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