|Enniskillen 1st XV
||12 - 15
||Omagh 1st XV
ENNISKILLEN 1st XV were unfortunate to end up on the losing side of the contest with local league rivals Omagh at Mullaghmeen on Friday night after a very tight contest throughout where the home side generally looked to control the game.
However, a few defensive lapses in the second half allowed Omagh to add to their impressive run of results this season.
Coach Norman Richmond clearly felt a win was there for the taking but admitted there are areas in which the side need to improve before they’re the full package.
“Friday night’s game against Omagh demonstrated in one sense how far we have come this season, however it also proved that we are still unable to control a game for 80 minutes. A couple of loose kicks with a poor kick chase cost us dearly, the win was there but we failed to get the field position that we needed to see out the game. This is a lesson that the players will not forget and they are hugely disappointed with the result.”
The early pressure from Enniskillen was good and despite a knock on from the home side the following scrum looked to be dominated by Enniskillen and Omagh did well to maintain possession. The Omagh half-backs kicked well for territory and kept Enniskillen at bay, but the Skins line-out was functioning better than in previous weeks, with Kaine Holden performing well and giving the home side some crucial possession.
The Enniskillen pack looked to be well in control of the game, Jamie Johnston’s carrying was destructive as always and David Buchanan was a commanding physical presence at the breakdown.
The handling errors from Enniskillen stopped them really getting any dividends from a lot of hard work but thankfully after settling into the contest the Enniskillen scrum continued it’s unstoppable form this year, the front row of Steven Fox, Ryan Cathcart and Gareth Beatty making it very difficult for Omagh to win their own scrum, and giving Skins a lot of possession from their own handling errors.
The defensive effort from the home side was solid but an eventual penalty was awarded to Omagh for a a player offside at the breakdown and the kick to touch gave Omagh a line-out on the Enniskillen 5-metre line, Omagh took their opportunity well and made good ground from the maul before the scrum-half broke away from the back and put their winger away in the corner for the first score.
Enniskillen reacted well from the restart and started to look much more competent in attack, a good line-out was followed by a great line from Ashley Finlay off outhalf Nick Finlay and gained good ground into the Omagh half. The forwards and backs linked together well with Alan Wilkinson and Kaine Holden both carrying well in the wider channels. Omagh were under pressure deep in their own half and began to concede penalties at the breakdown, Enniskillen unsurprisingly took the scrum and following a pick from number eight Jamie Johnston, which Omagh did well to nullify, Gareth Beatty then crossed the line for a try, converted by Nick Finlay.
Enniskillen were strong again from the restart and full back Ashley Finlay made another excellent break before being carried from the field with an injury, one man that Enniskillen will want back as soon as possible. Enniskillen continued to attack well and second row Danny Maguire staged some powerful runs to test the Omagh defence.
Under pressure again deep in their half, Omagh conceded another penalty and Enniskillen gladly opted for the scrum, the ensuing drive was immense and following the scrum’s collapse the referee awarded a penalty try that Nick Finlay easily converted to extend the lead 12-5 to the home side.
The second half proved to be a real arm wrestle between the two sides, more handling errors from Enniskillen made difficult work for the side but thankfully the scrum gave Skins plenty of relief and took numerous scrums against the head on the Omagh put in. Omagh had a lot of possession in the second half and made some good ground deep into the opposition half with well placed tactical kicking, and were eventually camped on the Enniskillen try line for what seemed like an age but the Enniskillen defence was excellent, huge hits from the home side with Michael Cadden and Danny Maguire in particular keeping the scoreline unchanged.
The game started to become very loose later in the second half with line breaks from both sides, Michael Cadden and Richie Beatty both making good ground from intercepts before being brought down while the Omagh back row almost went the distance only for an excellent cover tackle from James Ferguson.
Omagh’s kicking continued to be well executed and kept Enniskillen pinned in their own half, an eventual attempt by Enniskillen to clear their lines didn’t make quite as much distance as needed and also lacked a well structured chase, leaving it relatively simple for the Omagh winger who made a lot of ground in midfield and found himself with a massive overlap out wide for a try in the corner.
Enniskillen came back well looking to secure their result but it was a similar enough display for Omagh’s third try, pressure from Omagh at a vulnerable Enniskillen ruck forced another desperate clearance from Enniskillen and they once again found themselves unprepared for the counter attack as the Omagh winger put in an impressive individual run from half way to score in the corner and leave the final score 15-12.
The 1st XV have a week off now from league duty, but as part of the festive celebrations they will play an exiles team at Mullaghmeen at 12.30pm on Saturday, December 27 before the 2nds play Portadown at 2.30pm.
There will be a ladies exile game on Saturday evening also at Mullaghmeen.