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McCambley Cup Final Enniskillen 3rd XV 13 Ballymena 4XV 44
Enniskillen’s cup hopes crashed at the final hurdle on Saturday against a battle hardened Ballymena team who boasted a vast array of experience at high levels of Rugby.
For several of the Skins men this was their first appearance at the home of Ulster rugby, however for others it was becoming a habit to be involved there at this end of the season.
Ballymena kicked the match off and Enniskillen carried the fight to them straight away. After several phases Enniskillen were awarded a penalty in front of the Ballymena posts, 25 metres from goal, which enabled McVitty to open the scoring.
Ballymena were growing into the game and in the following 10 minutes they struck back with 2 penalty kicks of their own, leaving the score 6-3 to the Braidmen. Not long after, they added 2 tries to this to somehow leave a rattled Enniskillen team 16-3 down after 25 minutes.
But as the Skins men have done all year they carried the fight back to the opposition. After several hard carries from the Fermanagh pack, Mulholland danced his way through the Ballymena defence to get a score and not long later scrum half Kyle had an easy touch down after lots of hard yards from the Enniskillen pack. Neither try was converted but Skins were buoyant and the half time whistle came as a relief to the very experienced Ballymena team. 16-13 to Ballymena at the break.
Into the second period and neither side were having a clear advantage but Ballymena were using all their abundance of previous experience, a long kick from their out half into the Skins 22’ seen the most horrible bounce of the ball go against the Enniskillen men for the Ballymena winger to gather and go under the posts untouched for a converted try. Skins tried with all their might to make inroads but struggled to string phases of play together, despite securing all of their primary possession.
The final 10 minutes of the game seen Ballymena rub salt into the skins wounds with 3 converted tries which really put a delusional look on the scoreboard. Enniskillen left the field however with their heads held high knowing that they had gave their best shot and, despite defeat, still made much progress this season. Focus now returns to retaining their league title with a visit to City of Armagh on Saturday.
The team and all at ERFC would like to thank team sponsors for their Cup Final Day:- Pats Bar Enniskillen, The Enniskillen Hotel, Sizzling Stone Kesh, Loane’s Costcutter Kesh & Irvinestown and Hayes Caravans.
Team; Baker, Wright, Breen, A Kelly, Willis, Barrett, Cadden, Duncan, Kyle, McVitty, Cunningham, Wilkinson, Mulholland, Henderson, K Kelly; Gibson, Rutledge, K Fee.