|Lurgan 2nd XV
||7 - 47
||Enniskillen 2nd XV
Lurgan 2nd XV 7
Enniskillen 2nd XV 47
Enniskillen travelled to Lurgan on Saturday for the first round of the Forster Cup and went into the fixture in high spirits following back to back wins in the league. Their hosts for the afternoon also entered the contest in fine form having only tasted defeat once this season, ironically by the same team that defeated Skins in the final of the competition six months ago. When the game kicked off Skins showed clear intent with strong forward runners breaking the gain line and taking the game deep within the Lurgan half.
Unfortunately for Skins their late arrival, and only taking to the field 10 minutes before kickoff, meant errors ensued and they were unable to capitalise on their early dominance. Despite the errors, defensive organisation and aggression meant Lurgan were unable to clear their lines and Skins eventually opened the scoring after 15 minutes.
A scrum within the Lurgan 22’ was moved out to Lendrum and a simple pass to Law running a lovely line back inside allowed him to hit a gap between the opposition 10 and 12 to dot down for a score under the posts, which Lendrum duly converted.
Skins immediately returned to the Lurgan half and after a few minutes scored another try which was almost a carbon copy of the first as Law claimed his second of the day, and Lendrum once again converted for a 14-0 lead. This second score seemed to spark the Lurgan side into action as they came out more determined and competing for every ball at the break down. Poor discipline from skins at the breakdown and a few high tackles gave Lurgan 4 or 5 penalties in quick succession which allowed them to progress deep into Skins territory for the first time, unfortunately for Lurgan at this point their outside centre was forced to leave the field, seemingly feeling the effects of an earlier head collision.
With Lurgan down to 14 for the remainder, an element of complacency seemed to set in for Skins and this allowed the Lurgan 12 to canter in from close range for a try under the posts which was then converted to bring the score back to a narrow lead of 14-7.
Lurgan seemed buoyed by this score and despite being down to 14 men started to retain the ball better and string a few phases together, a smart kick by their 10 at the end of the half once again brought play deep within the Skins 22’.
The referee declared the lineout would be the last play of the half, which was all that was required as Elliott claimed the ball from the throw and immediately broke up the field as the Lurgan pack were caught sleeping, seemingly expecting the ball would be kicked out to end the half. Good support and handling brought play within the Lurgan 22’ and eventually led to McGarry going in under the posts, Lendrum again converted and the half ended 21-7.
That late score seemed to kill off any belief in the Lurgan side and they never managed to get out of their half once the game restarted. Skins ran in four more scores in a much improved and dominant display. Law first sealed his hat-trick bulldozing over the line, Henry touched down in the corner, then Ricky Connor and Lendrum dummied their way through the opposition defence to register a score, with Lendrum converting 3 of the tries. With 15 minutes remaining Lurgan decided they had played enough and the decision was taken to end the contest. It was a largely pleasing display from Skins and they now have a week off to regroup for the trip to Academy at the end of the month. We also wish speedy recoveries to Stuart Bradshaw who suffered cracked ribs and the birthday boy on the day Eric Elliott who had to leave the field after suffering damage to his little finger.