||32 - 10
Under-16s Win Shield Final
The final match of the U16’s season was deservedly a place in the Ulster Shield Final on a fantastic 4G surface at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena, Cookstown against neighbours Cavan.
It was Skins who got off to a flying start with speedster Lee Lindsey touching down in the opening minutes when he outpaced the Cavan defence for the first time, kicking into a strong wind the conversion was missed by Mattie Brown. With only 4 minutes on the clock Skins had McKervey sin binned in one of the first ruck exchanges of the game and so they had to defend the next 7 minutes with 14 men, conceding 3 points from a penalty in front of the posts.
Back to full strength Skins took control again, constantly stretching the opposition in search of a gap through the middle or the space out wide, and from the lineouts the pack mauled brilliantly to make the hard yards as well. It was from one such surging maul that led to Oisin Timoney touching down unconverted.
With Mattie Brown having one of his best games of the season he was a constant threat around the base of the scrum and ruck area, opening up the Cavan defence on several occasions; he was to be justly rewarded when he found a gap just before half time which he converted.
It was a case of déjà vu from the Instonians fixture when Diarmuid Scallon received the ball inside his own half, running the length of the pitch to almost score under the posts, but it was to be a couple of yards too many but Jack McKee was on hand in support to cross the line, going unconverted.
Lindsey was again to get on the score sheet with another blistering run as the midfield trio of Hill, Armstrong and Quill, who were dangerous all day, distributed well and set him on his way again. Half time score 27-3 Skins.
The second half saw Oisin Monaghan start in place of the injured Armstrong in the centre and immediately he showed great skills to draw the last defender and give a perfect pass to the hat trick hero Lindsey. Skins were assured at the back with Dillan Roberts and Tom Magowan fielding ball well and counter attacking where possible.
With the gap sufficiently comfortable it was time to roll out the patient subs and so Anderson came on for the injured Lindsey, followed by Patton and Gilleece relieving the stalwarts Leonard and McKervey in the front row, and keeping things just a solid as before. The back row replacements were delayed slightly with another yellow card when Oisin Timoney was accused of hands in the ruck, and so another 7 minutes down to 14 men. Again Skins defence held firm with no points conceded during this spell.
McGrail and Ryan replacing Skuce and captain Roofe eventually got on in the back row and they both had some good touches on the ball followed by Fergus Fee on the wing. With almost half the team changed this early on it took a bit of readjustment but defensively Skins remained strong. With Cavan still competing strongly and desperately trying to get back into the match it became an open contest with the ball being thrown about at every opportunity, and Cavan did pin Skins into their own half for short periods.
Skins were again to concede a 3rd yellow card of the game when Brown became frustrated, so with further adjustments made they continued to defend like warriors. However, having played almost a third of the entire match with only 14 players, these tired men were to concede a dubious try awarded to Cavan at the final whistle. Skins' worthy Double, League and now Shield winners, with a 32-10 final score. It has been a fantastic youth season and the club would like to thank the coaches for their tireless work this season in developing the side, and all the players for their commitment.