Enniskillen RFC Reports Mens I XV 3 c Coleraine RFC I XV 11 & Ladies I XV 57 v Carrickfergus Ladies I XV 5

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Coleraine 1st XV 11
Enniskillen 1st XV 3

Enniskillen failed to get back to winning ways yet again on Saturday with a hard fought defeat away to a physical Coleraine side. Despite losing a home fixture against this side earlier in the season, Enniskillen would have been confident going into this game after registering wins against higher ranked league sides like Academy and Randalstown in January. However this was not to be on the day as Enniskillen struggled to maintain or utilise much of their own possession for any significant period, and spent the majority of the game defending an onslaught of carries from a bulky Coleraine pack.
Coach Norman Richmond is clearly disappointed by the outcome and the results of the last few weeks but maintains that with the remaining fixtures and the right attitude his side can finish well this season.
“Today’s result was disappointing really i didn’t feel we played anywhere near to our potential, the pitch conditions were difficult and let us down anytime we tried to put anything fluid together in attack and we needed to be clinical with the few opportunities we had, fair play to Coleraine who carried out their tactics well and kept ball in hand for most of the game.
“It’s been a tough few weeks but i have every bit of faith in the boys that if they react well to this and stay focused we can regain our form and finish strong in this league”.
Enniskillen started the first half playing into a strong wind and initial carries from David Buchanan and Kaine Holden made good yards to put Coleraine under pressure, with an eventual breakdown infringement allowing Chris McVitty to kick Enniskillen into the lead by three points. Coleraine responded well with intelligent use of the wind to pin Enniskillen back in their own half with well placed kicks; the pressure mounted for Skins as conditions also caused problems for their line out in the early stages with Cathcart being penalised on numerous occasions for a crooked throw, though the scrummaging contest was fairly balanced throughout with the relatively small front row of Hood, Cathcart and Fox holding their own well against large opposition.
While playing in their own half the defensive effort from Enniskillen was resolute, with big hits from Michael Cadden and Jamie Johnston keeping the home side well reined in, and the tenacious Jack Harte was an absolute menace around the breakdown to disrupt Coleraine’s ball, but when gaining possession Enniskillen seemed to lack conviction and were quickly shut down or forced into making errors by the Coleraine defence. Frustration eventually began to show as a break down infringement in Enniskillen’s half yielded Coleraine their first penalty and three points. From the restart it was much the same story as Coleraine continued their narrow attacking patterns and eventually forced another penalty from the visitors and took the lead with a further three points to leave the score 6-3 at the half.
In the second half Enniskillen now had the wind at their backs but remained starved of possession by the Coleraine side, who to their credit showed patience in their arguably one dimensional but effective game plan of short range Rugby. This worked well for the home side and Enniskillen were forced to deliver a lengthy defensive effort, with Nick Finlay and Alan Wilkinson in the centres marshalling the back line defence well, and Ashley Finlay providing solid cover at full-back. An eventual shift through the hands from the Coleraine out-half led to a pacy break from the winger and had Skins playing deep in their own half, the forwards continued to front up defensively with a big tackle count from Mark Hood among others. Eventually in what seemed inevitable after such sustained pressure inside the Enniskillen 22-metre line the Coleraine centre ran a line at full pace, following a tap penalty on the 5-metre from the scrum-half, and crossed Skins’ try line for an unconverted score to leave Enniskillen trailing 11-3, and likely out of sight at this stage given the tight contest. Enniskillen continued to seek out an elusive score for the remainder of the game and there were certainly sparks of what the side were capable of but unfortunately their attacking form never really materialised on the day.
Enniskillen now play Carrickfergus, placed second in the league, at home this Saturday and despite beating them in an away fixture back in November they will be wary of this in form side and no doubt be anxious to return to winning ways.


Enniskillen Ladies R.F.C. 57 – 5 Carrickfergus Ladies R.F.C.

Enniskillen ladies were finally triumphant in their quest for silverware this season after easily overcoming Carrickfergus at a day of Ulster ladies rugby on Sunday afternoon. They took home with them the Ulster Ladies Shield and will now go on to represent their province in the All-Ireland equivalent competition in the coming weeks ahead.

The girls bounced back superbly after enduring a heavy defeat to, the eventual premier competition winners, Queens University last weekend to record another handsome victory to add to their 2014/15 C.V.. The scene was sent amid the usual backdrop of partisan (for a better use of words) home crowd of Carrickfergus who hassled the referee at every opportunity. It was also played as a 10-a-side game (on a full pitch) as Carrick were feeling the effect of a full season leaving them with a long list of injuries and absentees. That mattered not to Skins who duly stuck to their task by playing some beautiful flowing rugby amongst gritty work in the tight by the forwards in what can only be described as a mud bath! Try scorers on the day included: Shauna Murphy (2), Collette McMorrow (1), Leona Hallett (2), Kathryn Dane (2), Fionnuala Glover (1) and it was the half back pairing of Murphy and Dane who really impressed with some excellent running, off-loading and their exposure of space behind the Carrick defence with some superb searching kicks. The forwards too receive an honourable mention for their tireless work as the energy-sapping muck took it’s toll as the game wore on, they made it easy for the backs to expose the gaps in their oppositions defence until the final minute, no mean feat considering the situation. It was though, once again, a great team performance which coach Robbie Watson was delighted with and the All-Ireland competition now awaits on the horizon as a curtain closer on what has been a great season for the girls after the loss of some high-profile players last season.

The girls celebrated in style with some sliding about in the muck and a mud fight (to which coach Robbie Watson eventually found himself in the middle of!). They wish to thank Robbie for all his hard work during the season, their sponsors Blakes Of The Hollow, Enniskillen R.F.C. for their input and their loyal group of supporters who follow them up and down the province.

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