Omagh comfortably take the derby spoils

Michael Law keeps Ryan Mitchell at bay as Enniskillen push forward.

Michael Law keeps Ryan Mitchell at bay as Enniskillen push forward.

Enniskillen 11
Omagh 28

The eagerly-awaited derby match between keen rivals took place last Friday under lights at Mullaghmeen and despite an encouraging opening Omagh emerged with a relatively comfortable bonus point victory.

A bumper crowd turned up to witness  the contest and Skins kicked off with the advantage of a strong wind taking play into the Omagh half. After a promising opening the home side had the first opportunity to register points, but the kick from full-back O’Callaghan went wide of the target. With much of the play in the Omagh territory Skins finally registered a score on 22 minutes with an O’Callaghan penalty.

Although Skins continued to bring play deep into the Omagh territory they made a number of handling errors and did not vary their game sufficiently to cause the visiting defence many problems. On 30 minutes one of the games defining moments occurred when following an incident, the Enniskillen number 8 Johnston was yellow-carded.

From the resultant penalty Omagh kicked to the corner, won the subsequent lineout and after a series of forward drives succeeded in scoring in the right–hand corner. The conversion was missed and on the return of play to the Omagh half, O’Callaghan successfully converted a second penalty after 37 minutes.A bout of poor kicks from the home side however gave Omagh territory and  with a successful penalty they went into the break 8-6 ahead.

In the second half Omagh quickly took play into the Enniskillen half and started to build pressure through their forwards.Altough they missed a penalty there was a sense of the inevitable about their next score when they kicked to the corner, won the lineout and again drove over the line for an unconverted try after 50 minutes. Skins did try to run the ball back , but in tough conditions, they continued to make too many mistakes and did not have sufficient ball-carrying forwards to make progress into the wind. A further infringement saw Omagh increase their lead to 16-6.

From the restart play again moved deep into the Enniskillen half and when Skins tried to run the ball out of their own 22 a mistake presented Omagh with a simple try to leave the score 21-6 after 65 minutes. The home side did show a sense of adventure when they ran a penalty through Murray which resulted in an unconverted try by O’Callaghan.Skins then worked hard to win a penalty with five minutes to go and a good kick to touch gave them a good position particularly when an Omagh forward was yellow-carded. Loose passing though in the opposition 22 allowed Omagh to kick through and secure the vital bonus-point try which was converted to leave the final score 28-11 to the visitors.

This was a well-deserved victory for the County Tyrone side who took better options , made fewer mistakes and had a clear game plan.While the Skin’s scrum held up well, their play lacked control and accuracy and allowed Omagh to win a game without having to do anything special.

REACTION: McKee- Yellow card changed the game

Enniskillen coach Alasdair McKee was left disappointed after the derby defeat to Omagh, but gave full-credit to an ‘excellent’ Omagh performance.

Speaking after the game Alasdair thought the match hinged on the sin-binning of talismanic Skins number 8 Jamie Johnston.

“I think after the yellow card the game changed. We went from being in charge to the momentum of the game changing. I think we conceded 10 points during the period  and we just couldn’t get  a foothold back into the game. You have to give credit to Omagh though, they were excellent.”

While it was a comprehensive defeat Alasdair could not fault his players for effort or desire.

“I wouldn’t say we played particularly badly, but it just didn’t go for us, we made a few errors when we should have kicked the ball and we were punished for our mistakes. We lost a line-out and they scored and gave away a cheap turnover which they also scored from. The scoreline probably flattered them.”

On the night Alasdair felt that his side in chasing the game ventured from their game plan, which was ultimately their undoing.

“We’re a young side though,” explained Alasdair “We’re building a team again due to players leaving and moving away and I’m not going to criticise those players who came in. We didn’t play much different than at Grosvenor and we got the bonus point, but we will learn from this defeat and get back on the horse.”

Some positives were taken from the game from Alasdair through a strong set-piece and good opening half an hour where Skins ‘looked the side more likely to win the game’. He admits though conceding a bonus point to any side, local rivals or not is tough pill to swallow.

“It certainly adds a bit of spice to the return game in the new year, we will go there with a point to prove.”
Skins are in league action away to Lisburn on Saturday and are itching to get back to winning ways.

“They have been going well and it is not an easy place to go at the best of times. We got a draw there last year when maybe it was a game we deserved to lose. It is a different challenge, but we’re going there with a point to prove and we will be looking to take something from the game.”


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