Dromore 1st XV 7 Enniskillen 1st XV 25

Enniskillen 1st XV bounced back from their disappointing derby loss to Clogher Valley with a rare win on the road to Dromore on Saturday.

This was a resounding performance from Skins and Head Coach Stevie Welsh was delighted with the reaction he got from the defeat seven days earlier.

“The boys’ response was exactly what we wanted, although I didn’t think it would be quite as convincing as it was!

“Straight from the first whistle we were very professional and built the phases. The leaders in the team all stood up and the rest of the boys got in behind them. It was a very good display.

“I hadn’t won before in Dromore as coach, so it was a good scalp and I think a measure of the display was that the boys were disappointed not to pick up the bonus point win,” said Welsh.

The County Down side, much like Enniskillen themselves, featured quite a few new faces from recent years, and were undoubtedly keen to lay a marker down by sending the visitors down the road with very little to show for it, as has been the norm in recent years from one of Ulster Rugby’s known fortresses.

However, it was all Enniskillen on the day; a dominant pack performance and experienced display from Lendrum at out half led the team to a solid victory with the fourth try bonus point just eluding their grasp at the death.

Good phases from Skins early on built momentum off the bus and Lendrum threaded some nicely-placed kicks to pile on the pressure on the home side.

The territory yielded an opportunity early on as Jack Rutledge picked from the base of a scrum on the 22 and passed to Balmer on the wing who crossed for the first score.

Momentum continued with Enniskillen in open play as the back row of Rooney, Carleton and Rutledge were seemingly everywhere in attack and defence. The home side grew frustrated and discipline soon waned, allowing Eddie Keys to slot a penalty and increase the tally to 0-8.

Towards the end of the first 40, after a number of phases in the Dromore half, Skins broke left and the returning silky hands of Gavin Parke sought to put Mark O’Shea away for a score, but an illegal knock down from a Dromore player saw ‘Penalty’ get the honours instead, along with a Yellow Card for the home side, putting Skins 0-15 up.

Dromore had a touch more possession in the second half and a defensive effort was required from Skins, Rooney and Steven Fox stepping to the fore with hits to slow the Dromore advance.

Penalties continued to leak from the home side and Eddie Keys punished them again with another three from the boot, 0-18 now to Enniskillen.

Skins had their lapse in discipline too, it must be said, and Dromore took advantage, slipping through for their only try after repeated penalties had Skins pinned in their own 22’, now at 7-18.

Skins responded shortly after from a scrum deep in the Dromore half as Eddie Keys slipped an inside pass back to Jack Rutledge for the third try, converted to lead 7-25.

Enniskillen clearly had the bonus point in mind and chased it tenaciously in the final quarter, but were stopped excruciatingly short on a few occasions; credit to the spirited home side. A break from Rooney almost got there, and another period of enterprising forward play almost crossed the line too, only for a knock-on to call time on the contest.

It was a great display from Enniskillen, who played attractive rugby in open play, and ran a solid setpiece, even after the early exit of hooker Matthew Beatty, who we wish a very speedy recovery. It was also a very well orchestrated victory, well dictated by Lendrum who showed his growing experience.

Portadown are next up this weekend at Mullaghmeen and Welsh is hoping to build on last week’s performance.

“After the defeat to Clogher we want to get back to winning ways at home and, hopefully, we will have a nice wee crowd there on Saturday as we try to build on the win over Dromore,” he said.