U14s March On to Ravenhill
Virginia RFC just one away from historic double
Virginia RFC U14s welcomed Enniskillen RFC to The Deerpark on Saturday in the semi-final of the Ulster Carpets Ulster Cup. With the League title already in the bag they were looking to secure a spot in this weekends showpiece final. Both sides were greeted with perfect sunny and dry conditions, ideal for running rugby.
Knowing the importance of a quick start and an early score Virginia attacked from the whistle. Enniskillen had a strong pack though, and the home sides usual comfort at the scrum was tested, but the front row of Jake Sullivan, John Smyth, and Killian Collins held firm to give the backs plenty of ball. A couple of early attempts to go wide too quickly were thwarted by the Fermanagh side, but a centre partnership of Ryan Kennedy and Niall Carolan was working well together, and after a couple of moments of magic from Niall resulting in two trys the home side were 14-0 up with Aaron Mannion knocking over both conversions. Virginia now had their heads up and were attacking at will. The backs were moving the ball seamlessly and Aaron found himself in space on the wing, after a mazy run he touched down under the posts, adding another conversion to take the score to 21-0. Obviously all this possession for the backs meant the forwards were on top of their game to secure possession. Second rows Jamie Osbourne and Robert Lochaden were ferocious at the breakdown winning some superb turnover ball, and Adrian Lynch was tackling anything that moved. The forwards got their just reward when a clever dummy pass from Jason Henderson found Michael McKeon-Boyle on a great running line, and he crashed over to add another try. Enniskillen were a determined side though, and still took the game to Virginia, their best chance though was stopped by a superb David Gibney tackle at full back after the visitors had broken the defensive line. Virginia absorbed the pressure, and a brilliant clearing kick by Niall allowed Paddy Gordon to pressure their fullback into an error allowing him to add another try before the break, Aarons conversion making the half time score 33-0.
The second half was a closer affair. Enniskillen continued to pressure, but when they went through the forwards the introduction of Callum Finane, John Dolan, Mark Gibney, and Ryan McGuigan meant they were met by a continued wall of resistance, all rucking well and tackling bravely. When they went wide the Virginia backs were defending aggressively, and with the addition of Jack Vaughan on the wing adding to the tackle count as the half progressed. It wasn’t all Enniskillen though, and Virginia continued to press out wide. Conor Nulty was introduced in the centre, and his deft handling and great running lines set Paddy free to add his second. A similar move accompanied by a powerful supporting run from Cai Walker saw the forwards add to their try tally. Virginia continued to press, and Adam Sherriff on at scrum half plagued the Enniskillen defence with his sniping runs off the back of the breakdown. Fly half Adam Charters having orchestrated the game got his just deserves when a dummy and electric step saw him split the opposition to score another try, before Enniskillen got their just deserves touching down themselves after some sustained pressure through the forwards to make the final score 48-5 to Virginia.
They will now take on Carrickfergus RFC in the Final next weekend in Belfast. Kick off is at 1.15pm in the Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill, and all support is welcome.