|Omagh 1st XV (Jnr Cup)
||27 - 6
||Enniskillen 1st XV
Enniskillen exit Junior Cup with defeat away to Omagh
Omagh 1st XV 27
Enniskillen 1st XV 6
Coming off the back of two memorable victories in the league, Enniskillen suffered a 27-6 defeat away to Omagh on Saturday past in the 1st round of the Junior Cup. With a number of forced changes due to availability issues, the substantially changed Skins side pushed a good Omagh team very tight on their home patch for the first half before conceding a quick succession of scores in the late second half, taking the sheen off what was an encouraging sign of depth and future potential.
Skins started well with the forwards making good yards around the ruck to bring play deep into Omagh’s half, culminating with a break by Stephen Welsh just outside the 22 metre line and a crucial try saving tackle from Omagh fullback Beckett; however Enniskillen sustained pressure in the Omagh half, and came away with two successful penalties from the boot of Lendrum within 5 minutes to take the lead 6-0. Skins looked the more dominant throughout the first half with Ashley Finlay making a break from his own 22, linking in with Jamie Johnston and the returning Hazlit Brian to debutant winger Matthew Balmer who ran half the pitch, only to be once again brought down by the determined Beckett.
Despite some great work by Skins, with the line out providing good possession through Lewis McCrabbe who performed impressively in the air, Omagh were still to go in leading at the half as they exploited an overlap from a line out that ended with a score from Beckett, converted to leave the halftime score 7-6 to the home side.
The second half tilted more in the home side’s favour as the back line displayed some well worked set moves. Slick hands from the back of the scrum saw Beckett cross again from a back line move, unconverted to go 12-6 up. There were good phases of battling back from the Enniskillen forwards, with Marcus Crawford carrying well off the bench, and the game remaining in the balance; however, the Omagh side proved too threatening in attack and exploited the wide channels with a clinical handling display. Omagh’s Mark Brown scored twice in the last 10 minutes and a final score in the dying minutes left a harsh 27-6 tally on the Enniskillen side.
It was a frustrating scoreline for Skins that didn’t reflect how competitive the fixture was and forwards coach Stevie Welsh took a lot of positives from the encounter.
“We lost to a very good Omagh side but we were never out of the game until the last 10minutes. The game has highlighted some areas we need to improve on. It was not ideal losing 8 players going into the game but it gave us a chance to look at some young talent. Last year's Portora boys Crawford and McCabe showed us they have what it takes to play at this level. We will use this weeks conference game as a chance to develop further with one eye on the the Ards game in the league the following week.”
The 1st XV travel away to Ballymena 2XV this weekend in the conference before returning to league fixtures the following week at home to Ards.