OMAGH Accies embark on another Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup campaign on Saturday afternoon, when they welcome Enniskillen to the Thomas Mellon Playing Fields for an eagerly awaited first round derby encounter.
Last season the Accies fell to Instonians in the semi-finals and, following a disappointing 23-15 League defeat away to Ballyclare, at the weekend Captain Kyle Alexander believes Saturday’s derby offers his team the perfect opportunity to bounce back.
“Of course it is important to get a response, but it is about more than bouncing back,” he stated. “We have to prove to ourselves that we are capable of challenging at this level. Against Ballyclare we just couldn’t get going. We made too many mistakes and, we have to eradicate those schoolboy errors and, put Saturday’s disappointment behind us.”
Enniskillen under the tutelage of Norman Richmond have hit the ground running this term. Successive victories over Clogher Valley and Portadown sees the Mullaghmeen men sharing top perch in Kukri Division One alongside Instonians and, they will travel to Omagh in determined mood of progressing to the next round.
Kaine Holden, David Buchanan, Jamie Johnston and Ricky Lee will feature in a formidable front eight and with Ashley Finlay, Robert Baloucoune and Mark O’Shea in defence Enniskillen will prove testing opposition as they attempt to keep their winning run going. Kyle concurred with that sentiment and, the Accies prop was expecting a serious challenge from an emerging Skins team.
“I think it will be a very physical game up front. Enniskillen have a serious pack.
“They are very big, but this is one of the biggest packs that I have been involved with during my time at Omagh. It will be up to us to step up and enforce our style of play on the game,” he commented.
Kyle alongside Jamie Sproule, Adam Longwell and Mervyn Edgar will be seeking to provide a platform for Neil Maclaine, Ryan Mitchell and Scott Elliott to exploit.
“If we can get the upper hand in set play then I believe we have the backs to punish Enniskillen.
“There is plenty of skill in our back line but it will be a very competitive derby.”
As the countdown continues towards Saturday’s first round assignment Omagh have a number of injury problems. Mark Smyth and Adam Stephenson are the main concerns but Alexander was hoping that both would be able to play some part in proceedings.
“It is a bit early to know the full extent of the injuries. Both men will be assessed during the week but knowing Mark I think he will be eager to play given the fact that it is Enniskillen and a massive derby. Adam is relatively young and while he got a taste of derby action last year against Clogher, this would be his first real derby experience.”
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