REPORT: Armagh U18 Girls 15 v Skins U18 Girls 26

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Armagh U18 Girls 15
Skins U18 Girls 26

A group of Enniskillen U18 girls travelled to Armagh on Monday evening for a league play off game against a team they had beaten handsomely earlier in the season, so confidence was high.

In the opening stages however, Armagh quickly showed that they weren’t going to lie down and let Skins away with an easy win, and would surely punish any complacency from the visitors. After both teams laid down physical challenges with Alison Glass, Corie Palmer and Sophie Magwood getting stuck in early on with some impressive tackling, Armagh gave the ball to their strong running centre who broke through the disorganised Skins line to touch down in the left hand corner of the pitch. The conversion was unsuccessful.

Skins hit back straight away when Lucy Barr burst through the home defence and nearly got the offload away to her on-rushing centre partner Rebecca Pennell, but for a timely intervention from the home defence. Skins retained the ball and fly half Ellie Ingram found Hollie Bruce with a well timed pass, who showed the Armagh defence a clean pair of heels to score in the corner. Kathryn Dane was unlucky with the conversion.

The first half continued on with both teams running and tackling strongly. Katie Boles in particular put in several hits that could be heard inside the club house on the far side of the pitch. Zoe Donaldson and Rachel Robinson also impressed with some strong running.

Armagh scored a try just before half time when their pacy winger rounded the Skins defence, but were unsuccessful again with the conversion.

Armagh started the strongest of the two teams in the second half with some intricate and physical play along the touchline. This patient play led to Armagh’s third try and with the missed conversion left the score at 15-5.

At this point Skins could have faded away and let Armagh run away with the game. However this is a more resilient group of girls!

From the kick off Skins were like a new team. Alice Hurst and the belligerent Abbie Parkinson carried strongly into the heart of the Armagh defence, who found themselves under severe pressure. When they tried to kick the ball clear Emma Shaw plucked several high balls out of the air so well that Rob Kearney would have taken notes. Not only that but when she ran the ball back she caused serious problems, nearly getting on the scoresheet herself. When Shaw wasn’t there to take high balls, Kathryn Dane fielded them and then kicked Skins right back into the Armagh 22. From a scrum close to the try line Lucy Barr crashed the ball to the line and produced a Sonny Bill Williams-esque offload to Rebecca Pennell who ran a fantastic line and fought her way over the line for a try which Dane converted to leave the score at 15-12.

Skins weren’t done here however. Armagh tried to launch an attack but Lucy Barr read the pass, intercepted on the halfway line and nearly went the distance. However Skins showed great maturity and patience to recycle the ball, and feed Ellie Ingram who was spoiled for choice with forward runners. She chose Abbie Parkinson who crashed her way over for Skins third try. Dane again added the extras.

At 19-15 with mere minutes on the clock Kathryn Dane, who had been causing Armagh problems all day, ran down the blindside from a Skins scrum on the 10 meter line side-stepped one defender, and fended another to go under the posts and finish the game off, converting her own try to leave the score at 26-15 to the visitors.

After a slow start, Skins character shone through to prove Fermanagh ladies rugby in the future is in safe hands.

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