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Enniskillen IV XV 25:21 Ballyshannon I XV
Enniskillen IV XV recorded their first victory of the season when they defeated a spirited Ballyshannon side on Saturday. Though playing with the wind and rain against them in the first half, it was Ballyshannon who were first to register on the scroreboard when they scored a breakaway try on the back of a missed penalty attempt at goal by Enniskillen. The ball was placed beneath the Enniskillen posts to allow for an easy conversion.
Enniskillen replied admirably just like a week ago by settling into the game with a hard fought try of their own on the 15 minute mark when tight head prop, Oisin Duffy, scored from 5 metres following an excellent 15 man effort. Darren Reynolds converted to level the scores at 7:7.
Enniskillen took charge of the restart and gradually worked their way back up the pitch and into Ballyshannon's half. A real armwrestle for control of the game followed and it became clear that both sides were determined to leave the pitch victorious. Replacements George Richmond and "The Man With No Hair" brought some much needed experience onto the field and were excellent at instructing new players David Harte and Luke McQuade in the basics. Notable tackling from Richmond and returning player Paddy McKenzie, replacing his injured brother John at centre, forced an infringement at the breakdown giving Reynolds the opportunity to put Enniskillen's noses in front at the halftime break, which he did to a rapturous reception from the home support.
New faces to the 4th XV; Tomas "Ogi" McGurran and Morgan Bruce carried strongly into a stern Ballyshannon defence at the turn on the half. Owen McGovern too, battered the Ballyshannon defensive line with determination bringing him over the gain line numerous times. One such barnstorming McGovern run drew in several defenders which created space out wide for skipper Jack Harte to cut through a gap to stretch Enniskillen's lead to 15:7.
Ballyshannon were not to go down easily though and used their skilful backline to forge another assault on Enniskillen's try line. In spite of courageous tackling from Ciaran Fee, Darren Baker and Benjy Duffy, Ballyshannon scored a deserved converted try to bring the game back to within a point.
Unfortunately some unsavoury scenes resulted in Ballyshannon being reduced to 14 men when Ballyshannon's prop was shown a yellow card. This number deficit was to prove costly as further replacements Nathan Rutledge, Aidan McKenna, Olly Harte and John Murphy were integral in constructing Enniskillen's next score. Enniskillen built strongly from deep and continued to push upfield with each phase of play. Morgan Bruce then produced a powerful, rampaging run to put Ballyshannon on the back foot and release Oliver Gamble who carried strongly and fed Richard Henderson to finish off a try in the corner to once again extent Enniskillen's lead to 20:14.
Enniskillen's tails were well and truly up and appeared hungry to push on for a bonus point try. Continued strong running from Owen McGovern and "The Man With No Hair" set up the perfect platform for scrum half Sam Greenaway to feed Darren Reynolds who timed his pass to Jack Harte perfectly and set him off on a 50 metre run to score his second and Enniskillen's fourth.
Credit must go to Ballyshannon for continuing to fight strongly until the very final whistle. In spite of some excellent defence from brothers Jack, Lloyd and Olly Harte, Ballyshannon's determination earned them their third try and awarded them with a losing bonus point, which it must be said was warranted, given their strong performance on the day.
A further 11 players made their IV XV debut in this excellent display, one of whom playing their very first game. A big thank you must go out to these returning and brand new faces who are helping to grow the sport in Fermanagh. The IV XV don't return to league action until 10th February when they return the favour and travel to Ballyshannon where they will look to create some momentum.