5 more for Joe!
by Kevin Murnaghan
Joseph Mc Garvey continued his phenomenal recent scoring record with 5 tries against neighbours Enniskillen at the Thomas Mellon Playing Fields on Saturday.
This was by no means a one sided game which makes Joseph’s achievement all the more remarkable.
The Omagh boys had played Enniskillen in a friendly earlier in the season coming out comfortable winners. Things were different on Saturday though as Enniskillen boasted the greater numbers and size in their squad.
It was no surprise when Joseph was first on the scoreboard with a long range try. He followed this up with a replica a few minutes later both of which were converted by Matthew Murnaghan to give the Omagh boys an early 14 : 0 lead.
Perhaps the Omagh side relaxed too early because it wasn’t long before Enniskillen scored two good tries of their own. In fact they should have had a third when one of their more impressive forwards dropped the ball in the act of scoring. A lesson in the importance of holding the ball in two hands. Both conversions were missed leaving the Omagh boys 4 points ahead.
Omagh were to score next when Rory Ritchie fed Matthew Murnaghan on the blind side. Matthew straightened into a gap beautifully before accelerating to score under the posts. Matthew added the conversion himself.
Omagh were missing a few forwards and had a number of players including Rory Lowry, Alex Dillon, Rory Murnaghan and Harry Stephenson playing out of position. The latter three made up a pacey, if not, particularly big back row. Omagh suffered a further blow, losing the tough tackling Aimhirgin Duffy to an injury in the first half.
A change in tactics from Enniskillen led to their third try. Instead of using their large forwards to bash their way through they moved the ball cleverly wide where the Omagh backline had become disjointed and scored a good converted try.
Just before half time the Joseph/Matthew team added another 7 points to give Omagh a 28 : 17 lead.
The Omagh boys rang the changes at half time with Joseph, Richard Laird and Jamie McElroy swapping places with Alex Dillon, Rory Murnaghan and Harry Stephenson. Rory Lowry and Dylan Walsh also swapped positions.
From the restart Enniskillen showed their intentions racing in under the posts for a converted try. Joseph Mc Garvey, even though he was now playing at wing forward, managed to find himself in space once again to restore the 11 point advantage.
Enniskillen then laid siege to the Omagh goal line but fierce defence from the Omagh boys with Thomas Boyd, Niall Alexander and Simon Creane leading the way as always. Richard Laird and Joseph Mc Garvey also showed that they could mix it with the big boys with some excellent tackling whilst Rory Ritchie never took a backward step.
It was unfortunate that, having weathered the storm, the Omagh boys allowed Enniskillen to score a further try when they pounced on a loose pass as Omagh were trying to run the ball out of defence. There was nothing wrong with the Omagh attitude but some of the players at this stage were guilty of trying to force the pass rather than simply retaining possession.
The conversion left the score 35 : 31 in Omagh’s favour and it looked as if Enniskillen had the momentum.
To their credit the Omagh boys responded splendidly. Harry Stephenson and Alex Dillon both had good runs with the ball in hand whilst Jamie McElroy almost got away for a score of his own.
Daniel Monaghan and Richard Laird ran aggressively before brothers Matthew and Rory Murnaghan combined cleverly to set Matthew away for what looked like the game sealing try only for it to be called back for a foot in touch.
The game was finely balanced but the Omagh nerves were settled when guess who latched on to a pass at the end of a fine back movement to score his fifth. Matthew Murnaghan for the first time failed to add the points.
This was a good performance from the Omagh boys but they will know that with a greater focus on the basics they could have done better. Plenty to work on ahead of next week’s trip to Ards in the League.
Once again several players had to play out of position and special credit has to be given to Dylan Walsh and Rory Lowry both of whom played very well in unfamiliar positions. It is hoped though that all players will make a big effort to attend both at training and on Saturdays. New players in Years 8 & 9 would also be very welcome
Youth Training continues on Thursday nights at the Omagh Leisure Centre from 6.00pm until 8.00pm.