Group Shot ! Enniskillen RFC !

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Enniskillen 1st XV 36
Armagh 2nd XV 5
Enniskillen 1st XV put in a spectacular performance last weekend as they overcame a very solid Armagh 2nd XV side at Mullaghmeen, topping off an incredible month of results and securing a Town’s Cup final at Kingspan stadium on Easter Monday for the second year in a row.
The conditions were fantastic and seemed to suit this Skins side whose mobile forward pack and pacy back line looked to be in their element. From the kick off the Enniskillen defence was extremely determined and caused problems for Armagh who struggled to make much ground in attack and let errors creep into their game. The in form Skins scrum punished these mistakes and helped dominate the territorial battle. Claiming an early penalty from the scrum, out-half Adam Lendrum kicked to touch to set up a line out inside the Armagh 22 metre line. The line out was deemed not straight but the resultant scrum was stolen against the head by Enniskillen and, following some short range carries from the pack, back row Jamie Johnston broke the line and crossed for a score left of the posts, converted by Lendrum to go 7-0 up.
Armagh struggled to find an effective platform now following the restart as Skins’ Kaine Holden and Gavin Parke disrupted their line out and the scrum remained in the home side’s favour. A Skins line out and maul on the half way made good ground and the ball went wide to the backs; Matthew Balmer on the wing chipped a ball through and Ashley Finlay showed his footballing skills as he dribbled the ball along and gathered to cross the try line, unconverted to go 12-0 up.
Another try came shortly afterwards in similar fashion as the continued tenacity of the Skins defence caused problems for the visitors. As Armagh sent the ball wide following some probing carries from the forwards, the determined defensive press from Enniskillen forced a knock on from the Armagh backs and Balmer tapped it on and gathered to cross for another score, converted for a 19-0 lead approaching the end of the half.
Going into the second half the fixture remained a good contest as Armagh continued compete in open play. The Armagh forwards carried well and their scrum half was a constant threat around the fringes but the Enniskillen defence remained resolute throughout, the forwards working diligently around the ruck while Michael Law and James Ferguson’s centre partnership reorganised the line with precision. After a long period of defending in their own half Enniskillen reclaimed possession and Lendrum kicked long to bring play back into Armagh’s half. The back line stretched their legs once again as the ball went wide to the impressive winger Robert Baloucoune who exhibited some rapid pace to finish under the posts with apparent ease, converted to bring proceedings to 26-0.
Armagh showed their worth now as they put pressure on Enniskillen from the restart and forced a penalty from the home side at the breakdown. Setting up a line out inside the Enniskillen 22’, Armagh gained some yards through the maul before moving the ball wide and finally finding a gap in the defence after some hard carries to get on the scoreboard, unconverted to reduce the deficit to 26-5.
Enniskillen remained focused and kept the ball tight from the restart. Carries from Gareth Beatty and Richard Willis wore down the Armagh defence and an eventual penalty at the breakdown allowed Lendrum to add three points to Skins’ lead.
Armagh pinned Enniskillen back in their own half yet again from the restart but a fantastic break from outside centre James Ferguson 70 metres out had him cross the line under the posts for a great solo effort to leave the final score 36-5.
There were plenty of glimpses throughout of Armagh’s ability that demonstrated their deserved place in the semi-final but the home side were unquestionably hungry in the encounter, giving a relentless 80 minute performance built on a solid set piece, well organised defence and some dangerous runners in the back line.
With the league wrapped up Enniskillen now prepare for their Easter Monday Cup Final encounter against Ballynahinch 2nd XV in search of their first Town’s Cup Victory since 1937.
Omagh 4th XV 27
Enniskillen 3rd XV 29
Enniskillen 3rd XV did the derby double over league rivals Omagh last Saturday as they played away to the Tyrone side. In perfect conditions both teams played their part in an end to end game of aggressive flowing rugby. Omagh took the lead with a penalty early on after as resolute and well organised Skins defence kept them from crossing the try line. Omagh struck again on a counter attack when a couple of forced passes from Skins ended up in the speedy Omagh winger’s hands who ran in from his own half. The conversion giving Omagh a healthy 10-0 lead.
Enniskillen had impressed in attack with strong carrying from under-18 newcomer Jamie Kelly in particular, but small errors prevented the build up of enough phases to properly threaten. It took a well guided chip off the outside of the boot by out half Chris McVitty over the Omagh winger which bounced perfectly into the arms of skins wing James Cunningham, scoring his and skins first try of the day, McVitty converted. Omagh scored almost immediately from the restart to cancel it out. Enniskillen continued to press, with an excellent break from the impressive U18 scrum half Josh Kyle that saw him jink and twist to within meters of the line; quick thinking from experienced flanker Michael Cadden saw him stopped just short of the line after a quick tap penalty. it looked like it wasn’t to be skins day but there was enough time to gain a penalty in front of the posts to leave the half time score 15-10 in Omagh’s favour.
The second half was no less entertaining. Again Omagh continued to dominate the set piece and mauled well, with their eight making good yards off the back of the scrum. Omagh scored first to stretch their lead to 22-10, but this skins team have grown accustomed to coming from behind this season. U18 lock Aaron Kelly showed great hands and carried strongly, while the 19 year old front row pair of Sam Park and Kieran Fee worked tirelessly in defence and support. A Great break and link play between Cathal McGarry and Cunningham allowed the winger in for his second try, converted to go to 22-17. The first outing of the season for young fullback Paddy Fee saw him counter attack well alongside the pacy Gareth Donaldson. However, an 8 pick by the ever green Ross Duncan, followed by a 50 yard dash and two broken tackles was finished by an offload to supporting scrum half Josh Kyle to score a well earned try. Skins took the lead for the first time now at 22-20 and Omagh started to look fragile. Indeed shortly afterwards McGarry broke two tackles to break from his own half and brush off two more, ignoring Chris Fox on his inside to finish under the posts, a habit of his this season, and the conversion giving skins a 2 score 29-20 lead with 10 to go. However, a little lack of composure resulted in them coughing up possession on the restart and Omagh took full advantage of an obstruction by the referee on a would be tackler to allow Omagh under the posts for a converted try, 29-27. With only seconds remaining and Omagh pressing desperately they were awarded a penalty for the win and it drifted agonisingly wide for McGarry to gather and kick dead for a hard fought bonus point win in a competitive game played in good spirits. McVitty’s boot was pinpoint all day, the team defence was solid and aggressive while there was an excellent team belief to keep pressing for the result, keeping them in second chasing Ballymoney  for the Ravenhill cup. It was particularly encouraging to have seven under 19 players in as part of this team. The 3rd XV return to Mullaghmeen this weekend as they host Ballinahinch.

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