||25 - 16
Enniskillen 2ndXV 25
Dromore RFC 2ndXV 16
The Crawford Plate Final was played last Saturday 7th April at The Cran in Fivemiletown, a repeat of last year’s final as Enniskillen 2nd XV faced Dromore 2nd XV, with Skins looking to right a wrong after missing out on the plate last season. Both sets of teams had great support turn out, and the weather was perfect for a game of running rugby. As predicted Dromore came out strong at the start, with several key runners making good ground over the gain line and forcing Enniskillen under early pressure. Cracks began to show in Skins with a succession of penalties against them leading to Dromore taking an early 6-0 lead from two kicks in front of the post. Once Enniskillen restarted the game and got some territory in the Dromore half it was Dromore’s turn to feel the pressure of the Enniskillen ball carriers. David Taylor and Steven Fox were making good metres over the gain line forcing Dromore back. A reversal of the first 10 minutes now as Dromore lost their composure under heavy attacking pressure, with a succession of penalties leading to a yellow card for Dromore. Deciding not to kick for goal, Enniskillen went for the tap and go from the penalty, and through the forwards pick and go Enniskillen got over the try line for their first points of the match, Eric Elliot claiming the try.
From the restart Enniskillen picked up where they left off and went straight back into the Dromore 22 with Fergal Nolan and David Patton making the metres. Several phases out the back line got Enniskillen to within 5metres of the try line, where Eric Elliot took a perfectly weighted ball from Conor Henshall and touched over the whitewash once again for his second try of the game. John Maguire converted the try after missing the first to give Enniskillen a 12-5 lead going into half time.
Enniskillen started the second half the way they finished the first, down in the Dromore 22. Enniskillen ran hard at the Dromore defence but there was no way through, and after a knock on from Enniskillen during advantage, Enniskillen decided to kick for posts through John Maguire to give Enniskillen a 15-6 lead. After the restart Dromore responded well by feeding their big ball carriers and then through their pacey back line to get within 15metres of the Enniskillen try line. Enniskillen were then reduced to 14 men after a determined defensive shift as captain Gary Thornton was given a yellow card for a deliberate knock on. Dromore capitalised on the extra men and found themselves with a scrum 5 metres from the Enniskillen try line, which they managed to push over the line and touch down for their first try of the game, they then converted the try to make it 15-13. Enniskillen responded well from the restart with Tyler Millar seemingly going over the try line after a stellar individual break, only for the referee to disallow after a discussion with his touch judge. Dromore started to put through some nice phases of play through their back line and began to create a few problems for Enniskillen, but Skins’ defence showed again why it’s one of their strengths this season by turning over the ball from a ruck. From there Enniskillen played the territory game, asserting themselves in the Dromore 22. From there Enniskillen managed to steal a Dromore line out through Eddie Roofe and with several phases from the forwards, the ball was shipped out to the backs where it reached Matthew McVitty who slid in for Enniskillen’s third try of the match. The try was also converted to give Enniskillen a 22-13 lead. After the restart Dromore got right back into the Enniskillen half and managed to win a penalty in front the posts, converting to make it 22-16 which brought them to within a converted try of Enniskillen. With the game nearing its end Enniskillen built some good phases and found themselves deep in the Dromore half. After several big runs from the forwards Enniskillen forced a penalty out of Dromore which John Maguire coolly slotted over to bring the score to 25-16. After the restart Enniskillen regathered the ball with Eric Elliott taking it back to Dromore, who then executed a dangerous tackle resulting in the third yellow card of the match and forcing Dromore to see the game out with 14 men. The resulting penalty was kicked to touch for a line out which Enniskillen won, and after several phases Conor Henshall kicked the ball out to give Enniskillen the win and avenge their loss in the 2018 final.
It was well deserved silverware for a courageous 2nd XV side who have fought hard in league and cup competitions all season and are still within reach of doing the double and claiming the league title.