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Old Crescent take on Armagh in division 2B of the Ulster bank All Ireland League at Rossbrien
Old Crescent take on Armagh in division 2B of the Ulster bank All Ireland League at Rossbrien
Old Crescent take on Armagh in division 2B of the Ulster bank All Ireland League at Rossbrien

Orchard County local seconds pipped by Malone

Armagh seconds played their counterparts from Malone in a second fifteen home league game on Saturday. The game turned out to be a thrilling encounter between 2 equally matched sides which Malone won with a 41-35 score line. The game was only a few minutes underway when a Malone centre crashed over for an unconverted try. Paul Mullan made a strong run through the heart of the Malone defence for Darrel Morton to crash over at the posts for a try converted by Cormac Fox. Malone replied with a converted penalty in front of the home posts and then Fox put a great kick into the corner where ball was turned over by the forwards. After some strong mauling, Conleth Magillan dived over at the corner, 14 – 8 to Armagh. Malone blitzed the locals with a 3 try salvo before half time which has to be said came from poor tackling and mistakes from the home side. With a half time score of 27-14 to Malone there was plenty for coach Willie Faloon to discuss with the team. Ollie Millar and Willie Martin led the charge at the start of the second half with Mullan squeezing over for a try converted by fox, 21-27 to Malone.  The mistakes continued and Malone added 2 more tries both converted after a dropped pass and a hack 50 metres down the pitch, 41-21.  Armagh to their credit were stung into action by this led by TC Campbell and some direct running from Lester. Another converted try was scored by Darrel Morton to pull the score back to 41-28. Kyle Faloon eventually crossed the line midway on the other side of the pitch out after previously being denied on 2 occasions by the visiting touch judge. With time running out, Armagh made a last attempt to save the match with play taken up to the visitors 22, however turnover ball by Malone meant that the only reward for their efforts in this game were 2 bonus points. With a home Towns cup quarter final meeting with Ballyclare next week, the team need to focus on elimination of the errors which were so costly against Malone.


Old Crescent RFC   19       City of Armagh RFC   30



City of Armagh made the long trip to Limerick for the second week running to face promotion challengers Old Crescent determined to build upon their narrow win at Thomond the previous week.


In a remarkable match, Old Crescent stormed into a 19-0 lead after 25 minutes for Armagh then to fight back scoring 30 points and securing a vital bonus point win.


Old Crescent kicked off with the slope and a strong wind in their favour and Armagh fell behind 6-0 after five minutes with Shane O’Brien kicking two penalties for the home team. On 12 minutes Old Crescent centre Brian Touhy kicked ahead and won the race to touch down for the opening try of the match. O’Brien converted and shortly after dropped a goal for a 16-0 lead. Things got worse for the visitors with a penalty conceded in front of the posts, a yellow card to Chris Colvin and O’Brien made it 19-0 to Old Crescent.


Armagh needed to make a response and the forwards carried the ball well inside Old Crescent territory with their back row making significant drives. They were rewarded on thirty minutes when scrum half Harry Doyle broke to the blindside on the 22 and second row Josh McKinley showed excellent pace to burst over at the corner flag for an unconverted try. Despite being down to 14 men and facing the elements, Armagh dominated the rest of the half and pushed for a further score.


Two minutes before the break, captain Ali Birch broke through the Old Crescent defence on the 10 metre line and off-loaded to number eight Neill Faloon who sprinted in from 45 metres for Armagh’s second try.

The conversion was missed but Armagh had a lifeline in the match at 19-10 as the half time whistle went.


With Harvey Young pulling the strings at outhalf and James Morton and Philip Fletcher back in the pack, Armagh started the second half keen to keep the momentum in their favour. On 47 minutes the visitors kicked a penalty to touch, secured the lineout and set up an attack on the Old Crescent 22 where Birch again slipped through some weak tackling and burst through for Armagh’s third try. Young converted and the home team’s lead had been reduced to two points at 19-17.


Armagh then took the lead in the match on 55 minutes when Young kicked a superb penalty from the touchline on the Old Crescent 22 when the home pack were penalised for a scrum offence.


The Armagh pack were clearly dominating up front where McKinley and Birch were having exceptional games. On the 60 minute mark, the home team were penalised in front of their posts and the referee sent a Crescent player to the sinbin. Young converted the penalty to stretch Armagh’s lead to 19-23.


Old Crescent then had a period of pressure in the Armagh 22 as they sought a match-winning try. Despite several phases of play, Armagh’s defence held firm and they were able to break down the pitch and return to the opposition 22.


With five minutes remaining, the Armagh come-back was completed when centre Chris Colvin scooped up a loose ball on the Old Crescent 22 and sprinted in for try number four. Young’s conversion brought the score to 19-30 and the visitors closed the remainder of the match out. With the referee bringing the match to an end, Armagh’s terrific come-back performance had earned them a bonus point win.


With other results going Armagh’s way the team are now back on top of Division 2B with a one point lead over Greystones. The Armagh coaching team were delighted with the character and spirit the team showed after Old Crescent’s strong start to the game. What was pleasing was the strong defence and use of the wind advantage

which meant Old Crescent never scored a point in the second half.


The team now has a one week break before their next All Ireland League match at home to Skerries on Saturday March 4th.

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