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Ulster carpets shield semi final
Carrickfergus U16 17
Enniskillen U16 22
Enniskillen U16 travelled to Carrickfergus last Saturday for their shield semi final, a club not played in quite a while at youth level.
With no recognised hooker Oisin McPhillips stepped into the role. From the kick off carrick held onto the ball well and Skins kept them in their own half but a series of penalties brought play to outside the Skins 22, the carrick 8 breaking through tackles to score a try, converted to lead 7-0. From the restart skins were determined, forcing a Carrick knock on and from the resultant scrum Sean Mcmanus broke the line only to be stopped 5m from the try line. Skins secured ball and carrick stopped the next phase but were deemed offside, the penalty was quickly tapped and with the home side off side a further penalty was tapped yet again with Cahir McElhill getting over in the corner, Oisin Farry just wide with the conversion.
Oisin McPhilips secured the restart, carrying back to the halfway line. Skins pack kept the ball moving forward, sucking in defenders and stealing hard yards with every play. Then when a gap appeared Richard Mulcahy lifted the ball and hit the gap to beat the sweeping full back, but the carrick 10 showed an amazing burst of pace getting a tackle in before the line. Momentum, however, carried richard to the line and an out stretched arm scored under the posts Oisin Farry adding the extras to take the lead.
Skins knocked on from the restart as carrick came back hard, and despite reclaiming the ball Skins then knocked on, landing at the retiring Alfie coopers feet which he instinctively lifted to give an unfortunate penalty to Carrick which they put in the corner. Skins defence were pinged again for a penalty which carrick tapped and had stopped, repeating this 3 times with the same results, the fourth attempt went out flat along the backs, and with a compressed defence the 13 walked over for a converted try.
From the restart carrick played the ball back to skins’ line and some hard defence with no penalties for 3 or 4 minutes saw a maul formed and held up, skins winning the resultant scrum to clear their lines. Followed by turning over the line out Skins were in the ascendency when they were harshly ruled to be holding on on the ground, carrick tapped quickly and kicked out to end the half.
Skins recovered the restart with Oisin McPhilips securing and carrying to half way once again, Thomas Wallace lifted and with 3 carrick defenders holding on he went a further 10 yards, carrick got pinged for not releasing in the tackle and Oisin Farry slotted the penalty straight through the middle to put Skins in front again.
The match was now a battle around the halfway. Oisin Farry put a well placed kick down into carricks 22 and out of play to pin the home side back but a determined Carrick played back to half way. Skins had the scrum but failed to make ground so Farry put another kick into carricks red zone, his chase put pressure on the back three and the fullback and winger ran into each other near the try line, Ethan Daly the first to react to touch down from out wide, Farry’s conversion was straight through again 22 to 14 in favour of skins. It was now a battle royal with no quarter being given. Carrick got a penalty in front of the posts which was converted to bring them within 5 points, an unconverted try would take them to the final on the first try rule. Skins defence held strong for what felt like the longest 1 minute 30 seconds and eventually the ref called last play from a carrick line out when skins had secured ball, and kicked out thinking the game was over. Play continued however and Carrick secured ball, but skins rush defence forced a knock on for the final whistle. It was a great display by the young side who now look to a final this Saturday against Dungannon.