Enniskillen's wait for Ulster Towns' Cup success finally over with win against Ballyclare in final


Monday, 22nd April 2019, 5:56 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd April 2019, 6:08 pm
Enniskillen celebrate their Towns' Cup success against Ballyclare in the final at Kingspan Stadium on Easter Monday

Enniskillen ended their 82 year wait to win the River Rock Towns' Cup by beating defending champions Ballyclare in the sunshine at the Kingspan.

It was 1937 the last time the Co Fermanagh side lifted the trophy needing a replay to see off Dromore after the first game finished 0-0.

Enniskillen had the first chance to put points on the board after they forced a penalty in midfield but scrum half Nicky Finlay’s kick was wide off the target.

Stevie Welsh’s side thought they’d broke the deadlock on 16 minutes when prop Gavin Warrington rumbled over from close range but was prevented from grounding the ball.

However from the resulting five metre scrum the Enniskillen forwards drove again and this time Warrington was able to dot down but Finlay failed to convert.

Enniskillen had centre James Ferguson yellow carded for deliberately slowing the ball down on 39 minutes that allowed Ballyclare to have their first sustained period of attacking pressure but they failed to make their numerical advantage count before the break, winger Michael Kirk did cross but the try was ruled out for a forward pass in the build up and the Mullaghmeen side went into half time with a 5-0 lead.

Enniskillen wasted a chance to increase their lead five minutes after the restart when flanker James Carleton dropped the ball close to the Ballyclare line.

Enniskillen captain Ryan Cathcart receives the River Rock Towns' Cup from Ulster Branch president Stephen Elliott

Enniskillen butchered another chance five minutes later after kicking a penalty to touch, the forwards set up a driving maul and following a series of phases on the Ballyclare line they conceded a penalty.

The Fermanagh side finally made their pressure count on 55 minutes with a second try, from a five metre scrum they drove for the line which Ballyclare stopped illegally, from the penalty Enniskillen opted for a second scrum this time they moved it infield and No8 Richard Lee barged under the posts from close range with Finlay slotting over the simple conversion.

Finlay missed a 65th minute penalty after Ballyclare infringed in midfield.

Ballyclare had flanker Aaron Fairplay yellow carded on 78 minutes for pulling a strong Enniskillen maul down.

Enniskillen opted for a scrum and forced a penalty, from the reset Lee drove over but was adjudged to have been held up.

From the third scrum the forwards had a series of pick and goes before Warrington crashed over for his second try of the game and Finlay landed the conversion with the final kick of the game.