||11 - 0
Skins U18’s win Section 3 league title in tough playoff against Cavan
Enniskillen U18’s 11 vs Cavan U18’s 0
On a crisp dry Wednesday night Enniskillen U18’s hosted Cavan U18’s in a title decider playoff. With both teams finishing top of their league on 26 points each, a playoff was required to decide the victors. Both teams had played each other twice earlier in the league, with each side taking a game apiece this fixture was set for a critical showdown. The Skins coaches and players knew it was going to be a tough encounter and the contest didn’t disappoint.
The game kicked off in front of a great turnout of spectators and supporters and for the first 10 minutes the game was played mainly in Cavan’s half, but the young Skins couldn’t break Cavan’s defence. For the next 5 minutes it was the home side’s turn to defend as they were camped inside their half after a great Cavan clearance kick ended up on the Skins 22 metre line. Skins started playing themselves out of trouble and with ball in hand they were making ground consistently from the big carries of Second row partners Owen Mc Govern and Aaron Kelly. The Skins pack started turning the screw on Cavan and, with back row partners of Conor Maguire and Eoin Cleary working well together and running some great hard lines, Cavan were finding it difficult to resist the onslaught. Skins showed excellent ball retention in this period, going through 18 phases of play before forcing their way up to Cavan’s try line, and scrum half Josh Kyle saw the smallest of gaps between two big Cavan forwards, this proving to be all he needed to pick the ball from the back of a ruck and dive over the try line to score an unconverted try on the 20th minute. For the next 10 minutes Skins continued in the same vein, the forwards carrying a lot of the ball and making great ground through No8 Jamie Kelly who was making great in roads at Cavan’s defence, but it held firm and the scoreline didn’t budge for the time being. Then spotting some space out wide, Skins got the ball out to winger Michael Ohare who made a great break, but again Cavan’s defence again stopped this attempt short. On the 30th minute however, after resisting this long period of pressure, Cavan gave away a penalty just before the end of the half and Skins converted the attempt to finish the first half 8 nil to the good.
Skins kicked off the second half and hounded the Cavan receiver forcing him to spill the ball and give away a scrum to the home side. Credit has to be given to prop David Jenkins, propping against a player twice his size and dominating the encounter expertly. The ball was played out to Out-half Jarlath Maguire who ran a great line and broke Cavan’s defence, but their fullback made a great tackle to stop him and from that ruck Cavan won the ball and cleared their lines, chasing the ball down the pitch. Yet again Fullback Paddy Fee was on hand to catch the ball from his 22 yard line and run 40 metres before he got took down. The young Skins remained in full control of the game, playing against a bigger and older team than themselves. The next score came on the 54th minute when it appeared as if a Skins ruck was lost in front of Cavan’s posts, only for Props Rory Morris and Tomas og McGurran to win it back with such determination causing a Cavan player to enter the ruck of his feet and give away a penalty. Scum half Josh Kyle stepped up for the kick and added 3 points to the score to make it 11-0 to Skins. For the next 10 minutes Cavan started to gain ground and ended up on Skins 5 metre line with a scrum. Captain Kieran Fee won his 3rd scrum against the head and Skins were able to clear their lines. Cavan’s back line tried a move from the line out but Centre partners of Adrian Maguire and Tyler Millar were solid in defence and kept the Cavan attack at bay. Cavan then tried to put the ball wide and bombard down both channels but again they couldn’t break though Skins resilient defence and some great tackles from wingers Aidan McKenna and Lorcan McCaughey. The full time whistle was blown and both sets of players were undoubtedly relieved as it was clear every player from both teams was exhausted, playing for their jersey doggedly until the final whistle. This result secured the league yet again for the Under-18 side, sending them into the Quarter Finals of the Ulster league play off’s against Armagh the following weekend.