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CIYMS 1st XV 13 ENNISKILLEN 1st XV 12
Enniskillen travelled to Belfast on Saturday for an eagerly awaited fixture with CIYMS. The two sides had not met for several seasons in the league competition, and both badly needed a win to bolster their respective seasons.
With this seasons league now well underway and with Enniskillen sitting at the wrong end of the table, coach Willie Gibson was anxious for a performance from his team that reflected their potential, and hopefully erase the memory of several recent poor performances. CI, promoted from Section 2 this season, have also been struggling in recent weeks. Skins welcomed back Gareth McCoy and Jamie Johnston in the back row, and James Ferguson and Adam Lendrum into the back line.
The game was played at Belmont in ideal conditions for rugby. Enniskillen kicked off and the Belfast side immediately declared their intent to attack the visitors at every opportunity. With solid disciplined defence Skins managed to weather the home side attack for the opening ten minutes before settling down and taking control of proceedings. Rarely for the rest of the first period did CI Manage to get out of their own half.
Skins dominated the lineouts with Grayson Donnelly and Kaine Holden to the fore. Skins certainly held their own at scrum time with an early steal against the head and as the half wore on persistent pressure on the CI defence eventually began to tell. Three penalties conceded at the breakdown during a fifteen-minute period were duly punished by Adam Lendrum, leaving the visitors nine points up at the break.
The home side reorganised at the interval and started the second half with a newly found sense of urgency. They immediately went on the attack and, with Enniskillen appearing to lack the level of intensity with which they had finished the first half, they found themselves defending for an extended period at the beginning of the second half.
With just ten minutes gone Enniskillen conceded a penalty, which allowed CI their first points of the afternoon. This proved the incentive the home side needed. For the next fifteen minutes the game was played deep in Enniskillen territory. The relentless pressure on the visitor’s line eventually told when CI managed, after several phases, to penetrate the mid-field defence and touch down for the only try of the contest.
Again Skins clawed their way back into the game with the remainder of the game played
in the middle third of the field. Both sides exchanged penalties, which still left the home
side with a one point advantage going into the final ten minutes.
Although one of the Enniskillen forwards was yellow carded, for reasons best known to
the referee, Skins kept battling to the end. They were awarded a penalty just inside their
own half but an effort at a kick at goal just fell short, leaving the final score thirteen points
Probably their lack of discipline at the breakdown in the second half cost Skins dearly.
The needless penalties conceded any time Enniskillen started to build pressure kept CI in
However, the improved level of performance overall from all seventeen players on
Saturday gives the coach a lot of hope for the coming weeks. Skins have two weeks of
cup competitions coming up before their next league outing against Cooke on the 4th
November at Mullaghmeen.