|Omagh 1st XV
||29 - 7
||Enniskillen 1st XV
Ulster Rugby Championship Division 1
A hotly anticipated derby contest between Enniskillen and Omagh, both flying high in Qualifying One this year, ended with the home Omagh side finishing with a dominant 29-7 victory
Enniskillen’s cause wasn’t helped by the loss of out half John Maguire in the warm-up, with Ashley Finlay forced to step into the breach.
As expected from a local derby Skins were up for the challenge and, while they dominated the scrum, it was Omagh, who enjoyed the upper hand in the line out and in general open play. Star act on the day Stewart McCain punished Enniskillen with three second half tries.
Omagh played into the elements in the opening period, but while Skins were causing problems the hosts weren’t long in breaking the stalemate as Omagh pounced on broken play in midfield ten minutes in before moving the ball to the corner for full back Neil Brown to touchdown.
Captain David Buchanan, Ryan Cathcart, Jamie Johnston and Kaine Holden were solid in the visiting pack, but Omagh continued to run the ball at speed and at width which negated those Skins trump cards.
With McCain and James Catterson operating effectively in set play, Omagh continued to look sharp and they could have added to their tally only for two misplaced passes to go astray when they had clear overlaps, and thanks to some excellent defensive pressure from Robert Baloucoune who was also one of Skins’ sharpest attacking threats on the day from fullback.
The complexion of the game changed on the stroke of half time when, from another passage of broken play, Alan Heaney outpaced the Skins defence to grab a second home try for a 10-0 half time lead.
Enniskillen exerted considerable pressure on the resumption and within minutes they were right back in contention when referee Chris Busby awarded a penalty try following a series of infringements from Omagh while under pressure at the scrum. The conversion narrowed the gap 10-7, but that was to be as good as it would get for William Gibson’s men. Skins were briefly invigorated by the try but, just within a minute of conceding, an Omagh counter attack registered their third touchdown when the influential McCain made another incisive line break, spotting the gap and charging to the line as the Enniskillen side saw their hopes of reprisal slipping. Lee Murphy goaled the conversion for a 17-7 advantage and the hosts never looked back. Enniskillen looked weary now and they failed to reorganise their defence quickly enough to deal with the speed at which Omagh shifted ball along their impressive back line. McCain added two further tries before full time to complete a satisfactory afternoon for the Accies side.
Enniskillen will be disappointed with the result as they failed to give a performance in line with some of their outings this season, thankfully they have an early opportunity to seek revenge as they now host Omagh at Mullaghmeen this weekend.