Disappointed to be out of the Schools Cup, attention turned to the Subsidiary shield competition for Omagh Academy 1stXV. With all players present and correct despite it being the half term holidays the lads made the relatively short trip to Enniskillen RGS.
Omagh were made to play into the wind and sun in the opening half but were put under no pressure from their Fermanagh counterparts. The Academy were dominant at set piece with Jake McCay and Robbie Sproule ruling the lineout and the front row of Matthew Hill, Gary McCrossan and Glenn McKinley in charge at scrum time.
The early exchanges were nervy from both sides but played mainly between the two 10 metre lines and neither team threatening the score board. However with ten minutes on the clock, Omagh centre Deane Kane broke the deadlock. A Sproule lineout take was mauled before a James Longwell break took his side into the Enniskillen 22. Ritchie found his half back partner Beattie who shimmied past two would be tacklers before putting Kane in under the posts for a converted try and a seven point lead.
Frustratingly Omagh were unable to build upon this lead in the first half as a number of unforced errors crept into their game. Too many knock ons or penalty infringements restricted them to a 7-3 lead at half time.
As the second half got underway Omagh once again looked the more threatening to score however the error count was now reaching double figures and the frustration was clearly evident.
The harder the boys tried the more mistakes were made. The call was made for simplicity and for the next ten minutes the Academy took complete control of the game in the RGS half edging closer to the try line with regular pick and goes with the likes of Neil Logan and Nathan Sides to the fore.
RGS were now the team showing their frustrations and had two players sin binned in quick succession for needless infringements at the ruck and a dangerously high tackle. Omagh used their numerical advantage and forced their way over for a second converted try with Matthew Hill getting on the score sheet.
Beattie added the extras for a 14-3 lead. Omagh were in total control with Enniskillen never threatening their line as they approached the final five minutes. This was until a clearance hoof upfield from the ERGS centre was willfully chased down by their out half. A Taine Lagan infringement would surely have resulted in a penalty but the Enniskillen players took the law into their own hands and an unsavoury brawl broke out resulting in a player from each side shown a red card.
With the final play called and RGS granted time for the lineout they kicked for the corner. They managed to barge their way over for a try in the corner which was brilliantly converted by their out half.
The final whistle blew and Omagh progressed to the semi-finals where they will meet Down High School at Campsie on Saturday 4th March. KO 11am.
A FIRST ever County Final meeting featuring Omagh against Errigal Ciaran will now showpiece a memorable Tyrone Senior Championship...