||25 - 5
Enniskillen U16 25
Omagh U16 5
With the League campaign over it was a quicker start to the Ulster Cup campaign than originally thought, with a home draw to neighbours Omagh and still without the three regulars of Leonard, Flynn and Quill who are currently injured.
The weather and pitch conditions should have dictated a game to favour the Omagh style of rugby and it was the visitors who caught the home side cold in the first 5 minutes when they ran in an unchallenged try which went unconverted. Skins didn’t let this unsettle them and within minutes were level when a chip through to in goal surprisingly wasn’t touched down by the Omagh scrum half and Robert Grannell dived at his feet to draw the sides level. From the restart Skins forwards decided to take control and for long periods worked through phases of high tempo play, and at every opportunity chose to release the backs who weren’t shy at taking on their opponents. One such play led to Grannell finishing off slick handling in the backs, with Maguire coming into the line to make the overlap, to bag a second in the corner which left Skins leading 10-5. O’Hare, Hill and Jackson were proving to be a constant attacking threat whilst Jordan Anderson, playing out of position, along with James McKee were holding up the defensive duties by putting in some amazing tackles to keep Omagh at bay and keeping the score 10-5 at half time.
The second half was like a role reversal with the forwards now deciding to take the headlines with outstanding performances from all eight but some excellent 2nd and 3rd phase pod play with runs from Gilleece, Thompson and Keenan keeping Omagh on the back foot, and some equally excellent ground work from Timoney, Fee and McCarney helping to starve them of their little possession. The Omagh defence held out though for long periods of time but eventually couldn’t handle the sustained strong running of Monaghan and Clarke who bullied their way through countless tackles, Clarke eventually getting his reward with a well deserved try converted by Jackson. It was then Timoney’s turn just a few minutes later to get on the score sheet after covering in his usual quiet fashion countless yards to be in support of another attack to touch down, and again this was converted by Jackson. This proved to be the end of the Omagh challenge, and with weary legs and sore bodies it was time to empty the subs bench with Brown replacing McKee on the wing and McDonnell, Scallon, Monteith and McManus getting their hands well and truly dirty in what was now a very heavy, mudded pitch, but this didn’t deter the young players from getting stuck in.
It’s a pleasing thing for the coaches to witness in the last two weeks’ matches just how far all of these players have come in the last 7 months, both old and young. When thinking back to fixtures against Virginia last season it’s a far cry away for both 16’s and 14’s from where the sides were well and truly schooled in how to play rugby. It’s clear for all, spectators included, to see how this group have turned this around and committed to training and hard work every Wednesday night rain or shine, in developing their maturity and understanding of the game, showing desire that’s a credit to each and every one of the squad. This 24-5 win over Omagh is a great start to the cup campaign for the young side that will only grow more challenging as it unfolds.