|Donaghadee 1st XV
||33 - 7
||Enniskillen 1st XV
Enniskillen 1st XV suffered another disastrous blow to their league campaign last weekend with a humbling 33-7 defeat to Donaghadee, a side who have struggled this season and would have been targeted as a sure victory. There were some key absentees on the day which undoubtedly affected Enniskillen’s cohesion in attack, and was evident in the first half which was embarrassingly lacking of structure. In addition to this the physicality around the ruck and in defence fell too far short of the home side and most periods of Enniskillen possession ended with handling errors or turnovers.
The first half was a very one sided affair as Donaghadee started the game in tenacious form, looking determined to give the home crowd a performance. After some good phases of attack in the Enniskillen half Donaghadee shifted the ball wide for their winger to cross the line for first blood against a fairly shellshocked Enniskillen. Skins quickly dismissed the slip up in defence and tried to apply some pressure on the home side but just weren’t clinical enough to convert their opportunities. Some powerful mauls off the line out from the Enniskillen pack looked destructive at times but the ensuing phases were often unstructured and the clearout at the ruck was insufficient to maintain possession against the home side defence who constantly sought turnover ball.
Another score came soon afterwards when a loose clearance kick was gathered by Donaghadee inside the Enniskillen half, weaving through the first up defence to extend the scoreline. More misfortune came for Skins as David Buchanan was the unlucky player sent to the sin bin after repeated Enniskillen infringements demanded a reaction from the referee. Dee opted for the scrum from the previous infringement and, despite the scrum being a fairly solid area for Enniskillen during the game, Skins found themselves on the back foot in the contest and practically slid back over their own line in the soft terrain to concede another score. Dee capitalised once again on the 14-man Enniskillen before the end of the half, setting up a maul inside the Skins 22 metre line and forcing their way over the try line despite desperate defence from the Enniskillen men.
The halftime talk must have hit the right notes as Enniskillen were much more composed in the second half, playing territory much more effectively and camped in the Dee half for a lot of the second half. The home side defence was admittedly impressive and repelled countless phases of close quarter carries from the Enniskillen forwards, Stevie Welsh and Ricky Lee bombarding the Donaghadee line. An eventual turn over was flawlessly exploited by the home side when a Donaghadee back broke the line and evaded defenders to run all the way from his own half to the try line to take yet another fairly soft score. Enniskillen did show character in their efforts to get on the scoreboard as they made their way back up to the Donaghadee line and eventually powered over the line for a try, converted by Lendrum to end the contest 33-7.
Conquering the league is most likely unattainable for Enniskillen now but a second place finish for a possible promotion battle is not out of reach, as well as the arguably more important goal of achieving the high standard of performance which this very talented side is capable of.