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On a cold, wet blustery Saturday morning Enniskillen RFC’s three Youth teams travelled to Cavan, and with the weather conditions extremely poor it wasn’t going to be a day for fast flowing expansive Rugby. The U18’s coaches and players knew this was going to be a tight game and with not much difference between the sides. Skins kicked off the first half and, after 15 minutes of a scrappy affair with neither side gaining much ground, the young skins knew it would take a moment of magic to get the breakthrough. For the next 15 minutes Enniskillen applied their game plan and started gaining ground with No8 Jamie Kelly and Flanker Conor Maguire carrying a lot of ball. However, whenever Skins looked like scoring the player either lost his footing due to a poor playing surface or a Cavan defender was there to stop him. The breakthrough came on the 32nd minute when, after a scrum on the halfway line, the backs ran a move and fed quick ball to Centre Tyler Millar to bust through Cavan’s defence and past 5 defenders to run over the line for a converted try, leaving the score 7-0 to Skins at half time.
Cavan kicked off the second half and on the 39th minute No 8 Jamie Kelly got his name on the score sheet after Captain Kieran Fee won a ball against the head in a scrum on Cavan’s 22 metre line. This unexpected change in possession allowed Kelly to pick and go, busting through Cavan’s back line and powering over the line to leave the Skins 12-0 to the good. Credit must be given to both teams for the way they played in these poor conditions and the way they defended. The Skins pack was bullying the Cavan pack all over the park, if not in the scrum then also at the ruck, with props David Jenkins and Rory Morris, returning from injury, in the thick of the action. Scum half Josh Kyle made a few clever box kicks but due to the playing surface the Skins runners lost their footing and the chances were gone. On the 60th minute Cavan scored a try after cleverly playing to the whistle; from a line out they mauled over Skins' try line when the Enniskillen pack stood back and stopped, expecting the Referee to blow for a Cavan offside. This left a nervy finish with the score at 12-5 to Skins and 10 minutes to go. Cavan started to come back into the game but with great defensive displays from Centre partners Adrian Maguire and Tyler Millar, and also Fullback Paddy Fee who made a last gasp tackle to stop a Cavan try with 2 minutes left. Final score 12-5 to the Skins.
The Under-16s also took the points from their Cavan encounter and, following close inspection of the pitch, it was surprising that this match was played at all with the amount of standing water, however the two sides to their credit certainly tried to play open rugby. Skins were to get on the score board inside the first five minutes with a well taken try by Lee Lindsay after the backs spun the ball wide. A last minute positional change had seen David Quill switch to scrum half and he was kept busy by his mobile pack who constantly kept Cavan under pressure in all areas of the pitch. From one of those surges it was David Patton who got on the score sheet a second week on the trot to again push skins further in front. With Daire Hill finding his range up the touchlines and making sensible yardage he then turned his confidence to running the ball out the backs, who again with good hands put Lindsay in for his second of the day, sliding over in the corner. He was to be denied a third try when, from almost the same situation, he was judged to have let the ball go forward on grounding. With Monaghan making two conversions from three this left the half time score at 19-0.
The second half very quickly saw all the subs coming off the bench, whether they wanted to or not. This didn’t weaken the Skins performance and they were tested both in attack and defence from a Cavan side who also brought on some fresh legs, and looked maybe as if they would mount a reprisal, but the Skins defence has improved greatly this season and a tenacious effort kept another clean sheet on the day. With the majority of the game played inside the Cavan half it was no surprise that Skins kept up the goal line pressure. On three occasions late in the game Skins were denied by the referee who adjudged a knock on from the grounding, and two unsighted groundings when surging runs from Boylan, Armstrong and Clarke brought them over the line. This left the final score unchanged at 19-0 in a game that was played in good spirit if not good conditions.
Cavan, much like Enniskillen this season, have a large squad and have agreed to travel to Enniskillen this week to give their 2nd team a run out against Skins Under-16s 2nd XV. The unprecedented depth of the under-16 sides is fantastic to see at Enniskillen and a continued training effort will undoubtedly lead to success for the side this season.
The Under-14s continue to go from strength to strength and picked up the most resounding win of the day, seeing off their Cavan competition 39-0. The young, inexperienced side are developing rapidly and clearly dominated this fixture, improving in all facets of the game and particularly working well on their offload game in poor conditions.