Malone IIs 19
Enniskillen First XV had a great start to the Junior Cup on Saturday with a 24-19 win over talented young side Malone Seconds.
The first half was as good as we’ve seen from Skins this season with an excellent display of both their ability in attack as well as a committed effort in defence.
From the outset Enniskillen were comfortable to play in their own half and absorbed any pressure coming from the Malone pack before a break from full back Ashley Finlay gained some valuable ground, then in a fantastic display of skilful offloading from the forwards, including prop forwards Alan Ferguson and Steven Fox, the ball went wide to Finlay once again who showed great footwork to score under the posts.
Malone enjoyed plenty of possession in the first half but Enniskillen’s defence was very clinical and worked diligently to shut down a very sharp back line, while the scrum and line out continued to function well against Malone pressure.
The forwards continued to carry extremely well with captain Jamie Johnston leading from the front and successfully drawing in the Malone defence.
The space was well exploited in what is sure to be one of the top tries of the season as a well placed pass from Nick Finlay out wide to Kyle Johnston in the Enniskilen half allowed a break down the wing and some great interplay between Johnston and Donagh O’Callaghan before finally being scored by Jack Harte.
The final Enniskillen score came from some individual brilliance from David Buchanan who gathered a fumbled line out inside the Malone 22 metre line and went on an impressive run before offloading to Jamie Johnston for the try.
This combined with out half Nick Finlay’s accurate kicking left the half time score at 24-0 but Malone staged a comeback in the second half and almost managed to swing the result.
Enniskillen continued to defend well in general play with debutant winger Lloyd Harte doing well against dangerous opposition, but the Malone side were seemingly revitalised and started to utilise their agile back line, and a particularly destructive number 13 who put the Malone 12 away for the first score with an excellent offload.
Another score came in quick succession and Enniskillen will be disappointed at their efforts in this case as the Malone winger coasted from his own half evading numerous tackles.
Enniskillen managed to hold off for the win and conceded only one more try after extended pressure from Malone deep in the Enniskillen half before full time.
Full back and backs coach Ashley Finlay felt it was an important result for the team.
“We went into the game knowing we had to improve after the randalstown game and that’s exactly what we did. We blew Malone out of the water with our intensity in the first half and that essentially won us the game.
“We eased up in the second half with a few boys carrying injuries and let Malone back into the game but to put that sort of performance in against a team of Malone’s quality gives us great confidence coming into the next league game against coleraine in 2 weeks.”
The First XV have a week off now before they return to league action against Coleraine at home on October 11th. This weekend the Second XV play at home to Ballynahinch on Saturday, 2.30pm kick off.
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