||7 - 36
Malone Ladies 7
Enniskillen Ladies 36
Enniskillen Ladies made the trip to Malone on Sunday past to play a match that had been previously postponed before Christmas as part of the Rosie Stewart Cup. From the start Skins provided plenty of pressure and pushed Malone back into their own 22, where they remained for the majority of the half. Unfortunately a number of handling errors meant that they couldn’t capitalise on this early dominance and they allowed Malone to make ground. Ten minutes into the first half saw Malone awarded their first scrum, but in what was to become a regular occurrence for the rest of the game, the Enniskillen pack took control of it and turned the ball over. The ball was quickly recycled out by Clare Brogan, reprising her role at scrum half, and it was passed out through the backs and found the hands of Sarah Teague. Again, a hardy Malone defence prevented her from crossing the line. Although there was often a lot of space on the wings, poor handling skills meant the ball failed to get out wide and was restricted play to close quarters. Continued attacks and sturdy defence of the line meant Skins saw little return for their overwhelming possession. Eventually dogged attacks by Teague at centre and Noreen Nethercott from out half broke down the tenacious Malone effort and allowed Teague to break through for the first score of the half, Teague converted to go 7-0 up.
Skins were powerful in the scrum, stealing both opposition put in and yards time and time again. They saw great success in the line outs also from jumper Wendy Rogers, who made the trip especially for the occasion, and in true ‘Bodgers' style even stole a few of the Malone line outs throughout the game.
The forwards have been working on their maul all season, and this was the game when it all came together, as they gained valuable metres every time they drove from the line out. They could have capitalised more from these opportunities, but lack of control from Malone’s forwards saw a questionable break down of the maul and loss of possession.
A scrum just before half time gave Malone their only try scoring opportunity of the half when the ball was passed out to a very nippy Malone winger who evaded a number of tackles and ran the length of the field to touch down. The half time score of 7-7 did not reflect how the game had been played out in the first 40 minutes and, determined to right this, Skins lined out for the second half, and from the start they sought to assert their dominance on Malone from all positions on the field.
Sarah Teague opened the score sheet early in the half and then converted her own try to take the lead again. Maguire, who didn’t slow up the entire game, was well rewarded a short time after with her second try of the game from a powerful carry, again converted by Teague. This gave the girls more confidence and, with their tails up, there were a number of big runs made by forwards, led by Collette McMorrow, who bombarded the Malone defence with her trademark ’Thomas’ ball. Out on the wing Leanne Hall made a great run up the field and was only stopped by a high tackle from one of the Malone pack. A hardworking Nikki McSherry at inside centre had been showing great pace throughout the day, but unfortunately a potential bonus try was awarded and revoked. Nethercott left no one in doubt moments later with her effort, busting through a number of players and touching down over the try line. Malone made a last attempt on the line when their winger got the ball and side stepped a number of Enniskillen players, but a great try saving tackle from Leona Connolly stopped her in her tracks.
For the last ten minutes of the game, Skins remained camped in the Malone half of the pitch. They began to settle into more comfortable backline play which saw the ball pass swiftly along the line and, in the dying minutes, made another effort for the try line. Again, Malone put up a terrific defence but, having been worn down by Skins for nearly 80 minutes, they couldn’t hold them up any longer and it was to be the hard working Brogan who touched down over the line to finish the game. Enniskillen 36-7.
With just one game left in the league Enniskillen Ladies currently sit top of the table, unbeaten in the league this year. They will look to spend the next two weeks building on their performances from previous games before their final league fixture away against Cavan on 28th February, with a win assuring league victory, all support welcomed. Training continues at Mullaghmeen and updated times can be found on the section’s Facebook page.