||22 - 20
Enniskillen 1XV 22
Coleraine 1XV 20
Enniskillen picked up a win at home over Coleraine last Saturday in a tight, scrappy contest at Mullaghmeen. The match was far from pretty; strewn with errors and periods of indiscipline but Enniskillen were deserved winners with a dominant pack performance proving the difference as the scoreline seesawed for the entire 80 minutes, leaving the spectators reeling. Granted it was a much changed Enniskillen backline due to various factors and there were visible elements of unfamiliarity at times in the performance.
The Skins pack had the opportunity to prove their ability early on as they applied pressure from the restart and earned themselves a scrum deep in the Coleraine half. It was clear immediately that Skins had the upper hand through the front row of Warrington, Cathcart, and Gareth Beatty returning from injury. The battle continued for almost 10 minutes on the opposition 5 metre line as the scrum continued to be reset, Coleraine buckling under pressure and penalties coming the way of the home side. Eventually a penalty try was awarded to Enniskillen, bringing the home side 7-0 up.
Almost immediately Enniskillen gave away a penalty in their own half from the restart and allowed Coleraine to regain some momentum after a demoralising period. Skins set up camp in the Coleraine half yet again and began another period of scrummaging pressure and what looked set to be another penalty try. The referee thought differently and reset the scrum on multiple occasions, eventually allowing play to continue and Coleraine to manage an exit.
In one of their only forays into the Enniskillen half in the first 30 minutes, some sluggish defence from Enniskillen allowed Coleraine some easy yards and one of the backline sliced through for a try to bring them in the lead 7-10.
Skins were clearly frustrated but composed themselves and began to build some pressure, forcing a penalty and kicking their way deep into the opposition half. From the lineout a melee of forward carries battered the Coleraine line and eventually Gavin Warrington crossed for a score, unconverted to regain the lead 12-10.
Again the efforts were undone as Skins indiscipline had them give away a penalty in their own half to trail yet again at halftime 12-13.
Once again in the second half Enniskillen dominated territory and possession. The forwards carried well with Rutledge, Buchanan and Kelly working hard to break down the Coleraine defensive line. Errors were common too and Enniskillen struggled to capitalise on their possession. Despite their dominance the Skins pack were perhaps guilty of having the blinders on at times and the failed to link in cohesively with the back line. The line out was a messy affair from both sides and this too disrupted the platform for the Enniskillen backs to work from. When things did click the ability was evident from the Skins side as hands through the back line and a silky pass from James Carleton found Jarlath Maguire who scored down the left wing with a burst of pace, converted to go 19-13 up.
Another period of scrummaging dominance now saw a Coleraine prop received a yellow card, reducing the numbers but now rendering the scrummaging uncontested. The resultant penalty was slotted over by Nick Finlay to buy Skins some breathing room, now 2 scores out of reach at 22-13.
Skins will undoubtedly look at their counter attack defence this week as they conceded yet another breakaway score to leave them facing a tense last 5 minutes. Relief for all on the home side as the whistle blew for full time with a final score of 22-20.
Enniskillen were very dominant in some facets of play against a Coleraine side who, to their credit, never said die on the day. They will be glad to have picked up a win but will probably not be happy with their overall performance, knowing there was a lot more left in the tank. They will need all of that reserve this weekend as they host Dromore who are picking up some impressive results of late.