|Enniskillen 3rd XV
||48 - 25
||Donegal 2nd XV
Enniskillen 3rd XV were hoping to bounce back to winning ways against Donegal 2nd XV on Saturday after an away defeat to Omagh the previous week. The wintry conditions had taken it’s toll on the pitch and limited the game to a battle of the forwards as the muddy conditions often hindered wide play. Nonetheless it proved a very competitive high tempo game with ten tries scored between the teams. Although Donegal started strongly, when their pack coughed up possession centre John McLaughry was quick to pounce on the loose ball and win the 20 yard foot race to score under the posts with the bonus converted by full back Keelan Kelly who kicked well all day. Skins now 7-0 up within minutes helped settle any nerves, but they had to work very hard to build to the score. After strong mauling and good recycling at the ruck, quick thinking lock Gary Thornton picked from the base and must have been surprised to run in from 10 yards virtually unchallenged. Donegal took advantage of some ill discipline from Enniskillen and two accurately struck long range penalty kicks kept Donegal in the game at 14-6. Thornton added his second try as Enniskillen looked to take control again, but too many times Donegal turned over ball at the breakdown and they looked dangerous on the counter attack, often having the overlap to work with. However, good drift defence by skins back-line, led by centre Chris Dickey, thwarted most opportunities, but they failed to hold out to half-time as Donegal's pack got over the line after some relentless pressure, the score at the break 19-11 and all to play for.
The second half was more of the same, a battle of supremacy up front with both teams suffering injuries due to the intensity of the tackles. Unfortunately Frankie Fee had to remain off the pitch but Cathal McGarry was able to take over as the main line out jumper, his impact around the park in both attack and defence was only outshone by man of the match Gary Thornton who was an unstoppable machine all game, soon taking his hat-trick score. However, when McGarry saw yellow for a tip tackle, Donegal took the chance to make the numerical advantage count by scoring a try and the outcome once again looked unknown with 20 minutes left. However the try of the game nullified that score almost immediately when the experienced Richie Beatty turned over the ball inside skins 22, then quick thinking half back Mark Connor fed full back Kelly who burst down the wing, unable to link with wing Dave Cadden the move looked lost, but good strength to bounce a tackle allowed a subtle pop inside to non other than the supporting Beatty who won a 30 yard footrace against the Donegal fullback to collapse with the ball under the posts. Donegal added one more but it was consolation at this stage. Number 8 Ross Duncan, who had caused problems from the base of the scrum all day, ran a nice move with outhalf Hurst who took a switch ball and cruised in under the posts. It was no surprise and quite fitting that Thornton would have the final say powering over in one final effort to score his fourth try and Skins' 7th of the afternoon to leave the final score 48-25. A great team effort against a good Donegal team who undoubtedly will want to reverse the result on the return fixture. Skins 3s have a rest week ahead of their cup game on the 5th. Best of luck to Skins 2nd XV who head away to face Academy in the Forster Cup.