Lisburn Take Well Earned Draw With Enniskillen
With Lisburn trying to recover from a series of convincing defeats in which their away form exposed some unpleasant defensive frailties, and with Enniskillen coming off a local derby defeat to Clogher Valley in the semi final of the Junior Cup, the home team were looking for an improved performance in this important Qualifying League fixture. With Adam Hanley in the centre and Ally Finlay and Crowe at half back, the backline looked a more potent force and they defended well throughout the game. Up front, Adrian Daley reverted to his normal flanker position and he, along with his back row colleagues, Evans and Hill, bottled up the potent Enniskillen fringe offensives.
Lisburn got off to a good start and laid siege inside the ‘Skins 22 but unfortunately the visitors broke out on ten minutes and their right wing ran up the field to draw in two Lisburn defenders and then placed a perfectly timed inside pass to his supporting outhalf who went in under the posts. The conversion made it 0-7. Within minutes of the restart, Enniskillen again came up the left hand side of the pitch through their backs but a loose pass was cleverly intercepted by Lisburn right wing Owen Hilary who ran half the pitch to score near the posts and the Crowe conversion equalised the score at seven points each.
For the rest of the period play swung from end to end and Enniskillen tried everything they knew to break down the Lisburn defence but after leaking so many tries in recent games, their morale grew with every tackle and at half time the score remained the same, despite missing out on another Crowe penalty.
The second half was a revelation by the Lisburn pack. Andy Barron and Alan Hughes in the second row played a blinder and the whole eight took the game to Enniskillen who were rocked back on their heels. Unfortunately, flanker Daley had to leave the field after just ten minutes with a dislocated shoulder and this required a visit to hospital for correction. Nevertheless the Lisburn backs shortly afterwards took the ball up to the Enniskillen line where left wing Adam Melville got possession and he was then driven over the line by his supporting pack for a great score. Crowe converted the try and Lisburn had a 14-7 lead. At the end of the third quarter Crowe unfortunately missed a further penalty but Lisburn had their tails up and were playing with gusto. Alas, during the final few minutes of the game and feeling the strain of playing with just fourteen players, Lisburn failed to close out the match and in injury time Enniskillen got possession five metres out and their flanker drove through a spread-eagled defence which had prop Graham Curry on the floor with a bad ankle injury. They converted the score to bring up a 14-14 draw, a result which ultimately Lisburn were disappointed with, but on reflection marks a big improvement in their game.
Next Saturday marks a very important date in the Club’s calendar when they have their usual Christmas Lunch and also host Larne in the league. Both Clubs will be targeting this game for a win in order to escape the lower reaches of the league table. The 2nd XV will travel to Malone 3s in the first round of the Crawford Cup.