||29 - 34
After several appeals taken to the Ulster Branch, Enniskillen's under 16s were given the go ahead to resume their Plate competition, and after two defeats, in the League final to an excellent Armagh RFC side and a cup exit at the hands of Dromore RFC, everyone realized that it was going to be a very stern test on Saturday versus Monaghan RFC to secure a place in this year final and repeat the success last year when the young team brought home the Plate.
On a glorious morning for open running rugby the Skins players assumed control from the kick off and our forwards put the home side under pressure, from the resulting knock on they got quick ball out to the back line on the left wing and recycled from the ruck to allow No. 8 Jamie Kelly to drive over, however the referee could,nt see the grounding so the home team cleared their lines and went back on the offensive,and after ten minutes scored in the corner, the unconverted try left the visiting team 5 nil down.
The Fermanagh boys struck back with a great panalty kick from out half Jarlath Maguire after only a further 2 minutes of play to peg back 3 points and the dye was sat for the rest of the game .
First Monaghan increased their lead to 12 to 3 with a converted try, then the Skins pack started to dominate the break down and second row forward Connor Maguire powered over and Jarlath converted to leave a 2 point deficit.
Then from a scum against the head won by hooker David Patton, Kelly picked up and with support from Eion Cleary and David Jenkins the ball found prolific try scoring center Tyler Millar who broke two tackles to score under the posts, leaving young Maguire an easy conversion which he stroked over giving the Fermanagh team the lead for the first time at 17 to 12. With only 3 minutes to the half time break Monaghan broke through once again after some poor defensive decisions allowing their wing forward to score under the post and with the conversion it was 19 to 17 at the end of 30 minutes of scintillating rugby.
The second period resumed with the same level of intensity and the visiting pack really started to impose themselves with powerful runs from Kelly, Cleary and Maguire and with support always at their shoulder from Front row trio of David Patton, Rory Morris and David Jenkins they drove Monaghan back into the home 22 and from a sniping run from captain Aiden McKenna winger Connor Kent sped over for the try in the corner and a narrow 3 point margin.
The home side then benefited from a lack of discipline as after a great defensive effort a digression was penalized and the resultant penalty left it all square at 22 all.
But once again through successive carries from the pack and a scrum inside the Monaghan 22 Jamie Kelly took the ball and drove to the line but was tackled just short but the recycling drills carried out on the training pitch paid off as prop Jenkins angled low to the line and all the skins support thought he had scored however Monaghan had put plenty off bodies in and around the ball and it was judged to be held up again, so another five yard scrum meant that young Kelly was given another chance to run, and this time he stepped outside the area of the pack and neither of the centers could deny him an excellent try,the conversion from Jarlath Maguire gave a narrow 7 point lead with the forth quarter still to play.
Once again Monaghan came back with strong running and leveled the scoreline at 29 all.
With 8 minutes to go the next score would be crucial and it was again the running and recycling of the Enniskillen lads who gained the final and decisive points when Cleary combined with center Owen Mcgovern to release Millar for his second of the day and finally draw the game to a tremendous conclusion and a 34 to 29 win for the defending 2014 Ulster Plate winners.
Monaghan Rugby Club should be very proud of the manner in which this semi final was played, their team showed great determination and spirit and it was a truly epic encounter against two very well matched and balanced sides.
However there has to be a winner in cup competitions and all at Enniskillen Rugby Club would like to wish our Under 16 team the very best in Saturdays final when they face Letterkenny RFC at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena in Cookstown With a 1 PM Kick Off.