||12 - 12
On Sunday afternoon Mullaghmeen saw Enniskillen Ladies take to the field for their first game of the season. Before the season kicked off there was much deliberation as to whether Enniskillen should stay on AIL2 or drop a level to Ulster League 1. Due to several key members leaving the country it was decided to make the drop with the aim of rebuilding the team and concentrating on development over the next year. There was a huge recruitment drive over the summer and it was encouraging to see some of the girls that had recently joined taking to the field for their first ever game of rugby.
The game was played over three periods of 20 minutes. The first period started fast and furious with the Enniskillen pack putting immediate pressure onto the Sligo attack. Enniskillen prop Fionnuala Glover ripped the ball off the Sligo flanker and made an excellent break gaining invaluable ground. Enniskillen kept possession for most of the first period but Sligo's well organised defence kept Enniskillen at bay and they could not breach the line. Captain Leona Hallett made several piercing runs and was a constant thorn in the side for the Sligo defence but Sligo still stood strong to Enniskillen's phase after phase of attack play.
Eventually against the run of play, a lapse in concentration gave Sligo the opening which they took to run in a breakaway try, unconverted leaving the score 5-0.
The second period of play started with Enniskillen securing the ball and once again they were on the offensive, but Sligo's defence was soaking up the relentless Enniskillen attack. It was clear from the change in Enniskillen’s style of play that there was sound advice given to the team at the half time break by Coach Rob Watson. Enniskillen were a lot more organised and methodical in their set play pieces. Eventually this relentless pressure saw Enniskillen out half Noreen Nethercott pop passing the ball to inside centre Collette Mc Morrow, who burst past her opposite number and powered her way over the try line, pursued by two Sligo forwards. The try was converted by the talented scrum half Kathryn Dane, who after coming through the youth system played in her first senior game for Enniskillen, leaving the score 7 - 5 in Enniskillen’s favour.
In the final 20 minutes. Credit must go to Enniskillen who kept up the intensity until the end. Aine Stennett and new girl Sinead Dougherty who was playing at hooker drove forward at every opportunity, well supported by Maeve Mc Kenna and Shauna Mc Morrow. There were a number or very pacey Sligo backs that were causing headaches for their Enniskillen defence and eventually the Sligo fullback made a powerful run to go over the line this was converted. Bringing the score 12-7 to Sligo with 10 minutes remaining.
Enniskillen regrouped and Kathryn Dane seized her opportunity running ferociously to towards the try line where she proceeded to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge the Sligo team scoring a try which Brian O’Driscoll would have been proud of! The try was unconverted, score level at 12 all. After the restart Sligo pressed for the line and tried a cheeky chip, but new girl Erica Porter made a clean catch ensuring Enniskillen retained possession. Porter passed to Noreen Nethercott who link played with the hard working Captain Hallett, who made one last break for the Sligo line before being stopped by Sligo number 8. This was to be the last play of the match as the referee blew the final whistle.
The squad as a whole gave their all and Coach Watson said there were a lot of positives to take from the game, he said the friendly provided the ladies with a great practice run in preparation for the up and coming season. Training continues on Tue at 6.30pm and Thur at 8pm. All new players very welcome, no experience needed. The first game is away to Queens 2s on 11th October.