Antrim Rugby Club Notes: I XV 39 v Armagh RFC IV XV 3: McCambley Cup

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Antrim host Armagh 4s in the first round of the McCambley Cup on a Cold day at Allen Park. With Antrim coming off a defeat to Grosvenor. Its was time for the Antrim team to regroup and get back to winning ways. With several injuries Antrim had to restructure to side to fill in the gaps left void.

From the kick off Armagh had the upper hand for the first 10 and capitalised on the sin bining of Cathal McSorly and went 3 points clear. Antrim gathered themselves together and stepped up a gear and closed down the Attacking Armagh and started to turn the game in their favour and tested the Armagh defence but couldn’t get over the gain line and were glad to see the return of Cathal McSorley to the pack and made his presences by breaking the Armagh defence to score in the corner and converted Antrim retook the lead 7-3

Antrim were in full follow and from the restart Antrim once more worked their way back into the Armagh half looking like scoring on each attacking wave but the Armagh defence was stood strong and it was 15 minutes before Neil Manson broke through the backline and sent Dan Phelps down the wing only to be stopped 5 minutes short but the Antrim pack were their in numbers and saw Cathal Mcsorley Crash over in the corner unconverted Antrim widened the gap to 12-3. The game open up with both sides push to get the next points but nether team could capitalise on their possession and brought an end to the first half.

Antrim looked like a different side when the second half kicked off and overpowered the Armagh team turning over ball and mauling their way up the pitch on ever occasion and it was long until the Antrim lads back line was on the move again and saw Eddie York blast through the backline to touch down under the posts, converted Antrim lead 19-3.

After the score, Armagh lifted their game and spent the next 10 minutes in the Antrim 22 and did cross the line only from some great defence from Neil Manson and Scott Johnson to hold him up. Antrim still couldn’t clear their line saw Armagh push forth once more before Dan Phelps intercepted the ball in Antrim 22 and broke clear only to stopped in Armagh’s 22. Antrim had Armagh on the back foot and were awarded a penalty in front of the posts for Richard Manson to widen the gap to 22-3

From the kick off Antrim soon where back in control of the ball and moved the ball from one side of the pitch to the other wearing down the Armagh defence and before long where back in the Armagh’s 22 and a quick penalty from Richard Manson caught the Armagh defence sleeping and barged his way over the line and converted Antrim were in control leading 29-3.

The restart fell in Antrim’s favour with Armagh unable to secure the high ball which Antrim took full advantage with the pack picking and driving their way up the pitch before the Antrim Centre broke through the back line leaving a 2 on 1 with the Armagh fullback and offloaded for Craig McIvor to slide over in the corner once more converted the lead widened to 36-3

Armagh tried to work their way back into the Antrim half from the restart but the Antrim defence was too strong and from a turn over was Gary Walker send a beautiful box kick down into Armagh’s 22 from the lineout Armagh gathered and worked their way in field and tired to run the ball out only for Neil Manson to intercept just meters from the line only to loss control the ball and give advantage back the Armagh side. Just minutes later Antrim were back in possession and Neil Manson was able to rectify his mistake with nothing on he opted to drop kick and added 3 more points and an end to the match with Antrim winning 39-3

A very positive performance from every player saw Antrim the victors, final score Antrim 39 Armagh 3. Although every player gave it his all, Man of the Match was awarded to Cathal Mcsorley.

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