The opening game of the season was a hard fought contest between two closely matched teams. From the kick off, the home side attacked a bus weary ERGS defence and found two tries through the middle of the park in the opening ten minutes. This gave the Enniskillen boys the wake up they needed and from mid way through the first half they began to pick up the pace and play with conviction. The ERGS team worked their way through successive phases of play demonstrating improved awareness of pitch position and clear decision making compared to last season. Soon, a scrum ten metres from the Foyle line gave the boys the opportunity they had been waiting for and with a swift pick and go, No.8 Guobys carried himself, the ball and three Foyle players over the line to score 5 points minutes before half time, 12-5.
The second half saw the ERGS boys come alive with a real air of determination in their play. Led by captain McConkey’s unrelentless work ethic, the boys started to pressurise the Foyle defence over and over again. Browne seemed invincible in the lineout and Kathro’s familiar “Squeeze Knees” call from the middle of every scrum meant the the ERGS pack dominated much of the set piece. Another try seemed so close but with a number of carries from Elliott, Read, Weir, Harron and Pattison being denied just short of the line or held up, the boys had to fight hard to prevent frustration creeping in. It was at this point that No. 7 Harron then went down hard on his shoulder and had to be carried off with a suspected break to his collar bone, suddenly Foyle took a chance to ship the ball wide and strong running by the right winger allowed them to score again 17-5. This was a devastating blow and in the previous U14 season this would have been the nail in the coffin, but not this time! Once again, with ten minutes to play, the ERGS boys rallied and played as if they had nothing to loose. August’s pre-season work started to pay dividends in terms of fitness and centre Owen started to use his pace to test the Foyle defence, soon breaking through to score and convert 17-12. With three minutes to go there was a still a chance to take the win and the Enniskillen boys certainly gave it everything they had. To their credit, the Foyle defence held strong on the line tackling repeated runners to keep them out in the dyeing minutes. The last play of the game was to be the most controversial decision of the day, as a loose Foyle ball rolled back over the line and Ingram’s quick thinking saw him dive through the chaos and seemingly ground the ball for a try under the posts but with the absence of TMO, the referee called a knock-on and the final whistle blew a very close 17-12 to Foyle.