||12 - 12
Saturday morning saw the continuation of the Ulster Rugby Youth league for the Under 14s and 16s who made the long journey to Malone RFC in Belfast the players and coaches knew it would be a stern test for both teams as the Belfast club competed in the Premier League last season and have such a large catchment area and population to call upon.
However it was the Under 14s who despite playing into the wind certainly did,nt look like the travelling team. The forwards were in great form in the set piece scrummage and stealing the ball at several ruck's to give the strong running backs plenty of opportunity to put Malone under pressure. The Belfast boys soaked up the initial pressure before opening the scoring with a converted try to take a seven point lead.
Oisin Jackson making his return at scrum half was tenacious, never letting the opposition settle for a second. Despite the blustery condition the backs moved the ball at every opportunity and slick handling allowed Jack O,Hare playing at fifteen to show his pace with a great breakaway score from his own half, the conversion by Daire Hill levelled the score to seven apiece at the conclusion of the first half.
The second period opened with the young Skins players maintaining discipline and composure despite some questionable decisions from the Malone ref and they must be commended for the way they handled the situation, they took advantage of the wind to play a more expansive and flowing game with Jack O,Hare making a strong run from the half way line to defeat the Malone defence and add his second score of the game right in the corner, the subsequent conversion was narrowly missed by Hill. Malone added their own unconverted try which left it a well earned 12 all draw for the Enniskillen lads.
It was a much improved performance from the Skins players after a disappointing defeat to Portadown last weekend, they showed resilience and character beyond their years with several players really stepping up and putting a marker down, the front row of Conal Sweeney and Oisin McCarney and Ruari McManus all put in a great shift against a bigger more experienced trio with young McCarney getting deserved praise for his effort in the scrum.
It will be an apprehensive Malone side who travel down to Mullaghmeen for the return fixture in the new year.