On a crisp autumnal Sunday afternoon, Enniskillen Ladies youth rugby team travelled to Virginia Rugby Club in County Cavan to take part in a blitz competition.
Even though several key players were unavailable the U18 side enjoyed a very successful day of Rugby when they combined with an Armagh side that were suffering the same problem.
The day started against a strong Virginia side with a physical reputation and a win already under their belt against Malone. The mix of Enniskillen and Armagh girls did not however shy away from the challenge of their southern opponents. After some hefty challenges coming in from the likes of Alison Glass, Lucy Barr and Claire and Katie Boles, Virginia realised they had a game on their hands. After several minutes of attritional play the backs got the ball in their hands which allowed Mia-Jayne Elliott, Ellie Ingram, Emma Shaw and Rebecca Pennell from the Enniskillen side to show off their fancy footwork. However the Virginia girls did well to neutralise the attacking flare and the game ended up as a draw.
After this the Enniskillen/Armagh mixture had a chance to regroup before facing a Malone side that had a point to prove. Malone started the game off enjoying a lot of possession, however the Enniskillen/Armagh defence was patient and did not crack. With ball in hand the merged side looked dangerous, putting several phases together, eventually getting a try under the sticks.
In the second half the side came into their own, scoring tries for fun and looking comfortable in defence. On the one occasion that Malone threatened the line, an excellent tackle, followed by an outstanding counter ruck saw Skins/Armagh turn the ball over, and ship it wide to the pacy Emma Shaw who scored probably the pick of the days tries, hurtling down the right wing from forty metres out. Most impressive about this performance was the structure and game plan the girls stuck to from the very start.
For four of the Skins U18 girls there was one more game to play as Rebecca Pennell, Lucy Barr, Alison Glass and Claire Boles lined up for the Ulster Regional Development Squad to face a tiring Virginia side. All four Skins girls played brilliantly, with Claire Boles even crossing the whitewash for a score to help the RDS squad to a well deserved victory.
The U15's on the other hand suffered before the day had even started and by Sunday morning half the original squad had pulled out. However five girls did travel and joined in with a strong Dungannon side.
Their first encounter came against a speedy Clogher Valley side that had narrowly lost against the ever physical Virginia. With the long bus journey still affecting the girls, Clogher Valley took advantage of this, roaring into an early lead. The early setback however, sparked the Skins and Dungannon girls into life who fought back well, to come away with the win over their local rivals.
The second game against Virginia was a close contest, but the hosts benefited from the short break and came out firing on all cylinders. The young Skins girls did themselves proud, but ultimately lost out to a strong Virginia team.
Throughout the two games the fearless Tammy Millar, and Powerful Ellie Rix gave the Skins/Dungannon mixture a great go forward platform from which the illusive Grace Elliott nearly scored several times. Credit must go as well to Roxanne Dolan and Amy McNulty. Although it was their first ever taste of competitive rugby, both weren't afraid to get stuck in, doing sterling work for their team.
All in all a good day at the office for the young Skins Ladies who have once again shown that ladies rugby in Fermanagh keeps going from strength to strength.