|Enniskillen 1st XV
||44 - 0
||Donaghadee 1st XV
Enniskillen 1st XV 44
Donaghadee 1st XV 0
Enniskillen continued their excellent form last Saturday registering a 44-0 bonus point league victory over Donaghadee at home, setting an ideal precedent in the lead up to their Town’s Cup semi final against local rivals Clogher Valley, as well as avenging their disappointing defeat in the away leg of the fixture back in December.
Right from the outset Enniskillen laid a marker down; Stevie Welsh taking the restart before fluid hands through the backline found James Ferguson on the wing who coasted down the sideline from the halfway, leaving would be tacklers in his wake to score in the corner. Donaghadee attempted to put their own phases together but their line out functioned poorly while the Skins defence of the maul was well executed and quickly smothered the oppositions efforts to gather momentum. Jack Harte at openside also worked tirelessly around the fringe of the ruck to terrorise the Dee outhalf. The visitors still defended well for this early period to keep Skins out and a few forced offloads from the home side kept the scoreline unchanged for some time. A knock on in the opposition half ended another Enniskillen attack but a powerful scrum led to a fumble at the back by Donaghadee, returning possession to Skins, and after a few probing carries it was Jack Harte who broke the line and shrugged off three tackle attempts to cross the line.
Donaghadee struggled to retain possession as they were constantly turned over by the physical home side, David Buchanan and Jamie Johnston in the forwards proving particularly effective in holding up attackers. Additionally Dee began to give away penalties around the breakdown allowing Lendrum to gain territory through the boot for the home side, and soon setting up a line out just outside the Donaghadee 5 metre line; the pack gained good yards through the maul before sending the ball wide to Zach Charlton on the wing who cut inside his defender to score the third try. The bonus point try came almost immediately afterwards following a scrum in midfield from a botched restart; James Ferguson and Nick Finlay had some slick interplay to make their way up the field with Jamie Johnston in support crossing the try line, but deemed to have been held up. However, the following scrum was powerful enough for Michael Cadden at Number Eight to touch down and leave the score 20-0 at the end of the half.
The Skins front row of Warrington, Welsh and Fox remained dominant in the scrum at the start of the second half and earned the penalty in midfield at the next contest, putting Skins back within scoring distance. Donaghadee defended well on their own line to force knock ons from the home side but a resultant destructive drive from the Skins scrum gave Nick Finlay at scrum half the opening to cross the line for another score, converted by Lendrum to leave the score 27-0.
The one flash of attacking flair from Dee then came with a pacy break by their fullback but it was aptly defended by opposite man James Ferguson. Skins were in sight of the try line yet again after a clearance from Adam Lendrum was excellently chased by Steve Neill on the wing who tackled the isolated Dee winger and forced the penallty; Lendrum opting for touch and the resultant lineout was popped down to Jamie Johnston who forced his way over the line.
A couple of breakdown penalties from Enniskillen allowed Donaghadee well into their half but good lineout disruption from Kaine Holden turned over possession for a Lendrum clearance. A break from David Buchanan had Skins deep in the Dee half once again and bombarding the try line. Eventually Finlay spotted space out wide and shifted the ball to Lendrum who glided through the defence to score.
Skins picked up another try before full time when a Donaghadee clearance kick found James Ferguson in his own half; the young fullback again made exceptional yards before offloading to Alan Wilkinson at pace, then popping to Mattie Maguire to weave through defenders and score under the posts, converted by Lendrum to end the contest 44-0.
Coaches couldn’t have asked for a better performance approaching the Town’s Cup semi final this weekend, but experienced cup competitors Clogher Valley will prove a much sterner test and a big performance will be required from Enniskillen if they wish to progress to their first final since they last missed out on the Town’s cup against Clogher back in 2007.