Our 1st XV tasted defeat for the first time this season as they went down 0-20 to visitors Enniskillen in the All-Ireland Junior Cup on Saturday.
Our much changed starting line-up played into a stiff headwind in the first half and Enniskillen, who are accustomed to such conditions at their own ground, made good use of it from the off.
A sign of how significant a role the wind could play came in the 5th minute when the “Skins” opted to kick at goal from a scrum penalty at the middle of the halfway line, fortunately it drifted right & wide but not by much.
We were unable to execute any effective exits as Enniskillen kept us under the pump, our defence eventually succumbing in the 10th minute as the visitors rampant forwards created space for their backs to exploit for a well worked try, the conversion attempt proving unsuccessful.
The “Skins” kept the pressure on and within 10 minutes had their 2nd try as their forwards continued to dominate, muscling their way over with some powerful carries. The conversion was successful on this occasion as Enniskillen took a well deserved 0-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
To our credit we didn’t let the heads drop and managed to create some pressure of our own, twice looking like we had secured tries which the referee declined to award, Peter Lyons’ effort in particular leaving the home support very frustrated.
With Enniskillen subsequently losing a player to the bin for repeated infringements we had stemmed the tide and as the half closed out a 0-12 deficit didn’t look too insurmountable with the benefit of the wind to come in the second half.
Unfortunately that’s not how the 2nd half played out as we got ourselves on the wrong side of the referee early on with Andrew Heffernan being the one to pay the price for too many perceived infringements at the scrum where it looked like we had an advantage.
Now down to 14 men our efforts to make use of the wind weren’t coming off and the “Skins” were drawing confidence as the minutes passed, even more so when they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts as we tried to play ourselves out of the 22. The penalty was gratefully accepted to see the lead extended to 0-15 with 25 minutes remaining.
The “Skins” had the bit between their teeth now and kept us deep in our own territory as we couldn’t put enough phases together to worry their very vocal traveling support. The game was put to bed on the 75th minute when Enniskillen launched a clinical lineout maul from outside our 22, advancing within 5 metres before releasing a series of forward surges that reaped the ultimate benefit. The conversion was missed but there was no way back from the 0-20 deficit as the game finished out without further incident.
On what was a difficult day a special mention for Harry Mullen who made his senior debut and acquitted himself very well. While we are course very disappointed to have fallen at the first hurdle in this competition we will dust ourselves down and prepare for the return to league action next weekend, as we travel to Kilkenny for what will be a very tough fixture.???
Seapoint Squad v. Enniskillen 23Oct21
15 E. Weaver 14 J. Farrell 13 J. Hanna 12 C. Hurley 11 H. Martin 10 M. McKenna 9 D. Burke 8 A. Macaulay 7 D. Montayne (Capt.) 6 P. Lyons 5 H. Mullen 4. J. Campbell 3 B. Duggan 2 A. Heffernan 1 E. Dalton
Reps: 16 E. Mahon 17 R. Mouatt 18 S. Grannell 19 C. Buckley 20 B. Guerin