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Enniskillen show their true grit to finally end Junior Cup wait

Enniskillen 18-17 City of Armagh IIs

Happy days: Enniskillen captain Gareth Beatty and his team-mates celebrate winning the Millar
McCall Wylie Junior Cup at Kingspan Stadium
Happy days: Enniskillen captain Gareth Beatty and his team-mates celebrate winning the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup at Kingspan Stadium

By Ronnie Ingram

It was third time lucky for Enniskillen as they clinched the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup, which will sit alongside the River Rock Towns' Cup in their clubhouse, with an 18-17 victory over Armagh II at Kingspan Stadium last night.

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The Fermanagh team had lost both of their previous finals by three points - 3-0 to Ballymena after extra-time in 1929-30 and 15-12 to Cooke 32 seasons ago - but on this occasion they managed to get the job done by the narrowest of margins.

It was a hugely competitive game with a strong wind but neither side made full use of this advantage.

In the first period, the Armagh backs were dangerous in possession and they probably deserved their 10-6 interval lead.

Enniskillen out-half John Maguire kicked an early penalty which was cancelled out by Harry Boyd after eight minutes.

Maguire regained the advantage with a second penalty but Armagh struck after 28 minutes when Jonathan Agnew showed his strength and determination to cross the line for Boyd to add the extras.

Just after the restart, the Enniskillen defence was caught napping and Armagh went 17-6 ahead when second-row forward Oliver Millar showed some pace to charge in for Boyd to convert the extras from the touchline.

Enniskillen, who were dominant in the set-pieces, changed their tactics and kept the ball tight while playing into the wind.

They controlled possession and Armagh seldom ventured out of their own territory.

The deficit was reduced on the hour when centre James Ferguson saw a gap and cut through to go under the posts for Nick Finlay to goal.

They continued to control play and sealed the issue in the 76th minute when an excellent build up resulted in winger Angus Keys sprinting over to the right of the posts.

Enniskillen won the forward battle and their success, although a long time coming, was deserved.

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