It was a bitterly disappointed Skins Head Coach Stevie Welsh that made his way off the pitch and into the tunnel at Kingspan Stadium on Monday at the end of an enthralling Ulster Junior Cup final in which his side had more than played their part.

Skins had led 22-13 at half time but two quick tries for ‘Clare early in the second half swung the momentum in their favour and in the end Skins came up just short as Ballyclare claimed a 42-36 victory with Welsh admitting that the loss was a tough one to take.

“It was very disappointing,” he said. “We came up with a good game plan to play and we just didn’t get into our rhythm and Ballyclare kept coming at us.

“In the first half we felt we got a bit of distance between us and we started going but then after the break they got two quick scores and we were chasing the game after that.

“We never felt overly comfortable in the shape to try and get it but we still fought to the end. It’s hard to take.”

Enniskillen had looked nervous in the opening minutes of the game but after Eddie Keys scored the first try Skins started to settle and Neil Rutledge and Henry Keys also dotted down in the first half.

“There was definitely a few nerves at the start and a few wee knock ons here and there which gave them a couple of chances but although it wasn’t exactly the way we wanted to play, we had a reasonable control and it looked like we might just keep going.

“But credit to Ballyclare, they are a good experienced team and they came back at us. It is a cup final and you can’t just rest on your laurels and they kept coming back at us. We had then left ourselves a wee bit too much to do at the end to chase the game,” said Welsh.

The defeat was a second final loss for Skins at the stadium this season having also lost the All Ireland Junior decider to Clogher Valley back in January. Welsh had said in the lead up to Monday’s final that he wasn’t interested in getting pats on the back for reaching two finals, they wanted to win. But he does feel that there is much more to come from a very young squad.

“There are definitely positives (to take out of it). It’s a young dressing room and they have a lot of good days in front of them. This team is only starting.

“Look, even though they are young, we felt that they could come here today and win but it wasn’t to be. But you will hear a lot more about this team,” he said.