The Medallion squad headed to Dublin last Saturday for a return fixture against Blackrock College. The big travelling support was very welcome and witnessed a very tough game for the boys, as the score suggests.
It would be fair to say that Blackrock is probably the best under 15 team in Ireland this year. To put the result in perspective, they had posted a similar score against Belfast Inst. a few weeks ago.
The home team would score four tries in each half and were clinical in their finishing, as well as having a very sound defence. Nevertheless, Enniskillen competed very well throughout the game and were on a par in many aspects of play.
Blackrock had scored from the kick-off, which was avoidable, before Enniskillen enjoyed a good spell of possession and territory.
A bit like Wales against New Zealand a couple of weeks ago, they weren’t able to get points when in the ascendancy. Like the All Blacks, Blackrock punished any error or turnover and tended to score when opportunities arose or were created.
Captain Smyton typically led by example and was outstanding, not least in winning several turnovers. Taine Haire was excellent too, particularly in defence. At outside centre he was at the epicentre of Blackrock’s attack lines. Time and again he cut down much bigger opponents.
In the second half the teams scored a try apiece until Rock ran in a couple in last few minutes. Stuart Brown had crossed the line for Enniskillen after a fine team build up. Good support play by the forwards carried the ball deep into the home team’s 22 before Brown cut a good line through the centre. Eddie Keys converted.
The boys were obviously very disappointed that they weren’t just as competitive as they had been in the game at Castle Lane, but ‘soft’ scores at the beginning and end of each half inflated the score to some extent. They still played very well and this was a great game to have at this stage of the season, which is all about preparation for the Shield in the New Year.
The Dublin squad benefits from a six month age differential, which counts for a lot, in physical terms, at this stage. Over the four games between the two squads the Enniskillen boys have genuinely earned the respect of their Dublin opponents and they learn a lot each time they play at this level.
Squad v Blackrock College: M.Graham. M. Beatty.R. Phair.D.Scollan. J.White. Z.Havers. A.Breen. M.Wilson. D.Stinson. J.Elliott. H.Keys. C.Smyton(C). R.Gamble. A.Patton. M.Bothwell. E.Keys. Stephen Balfour. T.Haire. Sam Balfour. J.Bothwell. S Brown. A.Sanderson. H.Graham.