ARMAGH STILL IN THE HUNT: Ulster Qualifying League Section One

3 minutes, 28 seconds Read

Team Played W D L PF PA BP Points
1 Cooke 16 13 1 2 438 114 11 65
2 Armagh 15 13 0 2 456 222 10 62
3 Coleraine 17 13 0 4 311 189 4 56
4 Academy 16 9 1 6 352 314 6 44
5 Portadown 14 8 1 5 308 246 9 43
6 Clogher Valley 14 7 1 6 237 184 7 37
7 Ballymoney 15 4 0 11 262 323 4 20
8 Dromore 14 4 0 10 228 320 3 19
9 Limavady 14 3 0 11 159 308 5 17
10 Bangor 17 0 0 17 111 642 1 -4

Saturday’s convincing bonus point victory at Limavady has kept their league hopes well and truly alive. As the game progressed it was obvious that the week’s rest and recuperation had done the trick. The tired bodies were able to work again and were willing to play in the wide open, fast Armagh style again.
As the final whistle blew at The Hunter grounds in Limavady the inevitable mobile ‘phone buzz got under way with the news that Cooke had beaten Portadown by a convincing margin and also with a bonus point.
This effectively both league contenders with exactly the same points difference they started out with on Saturday morning. It now looks more and more certain that it will come down to a league decider when Armagh entertain Cooke at the Palace Grounds next Saturday afternoon. That is provided they can resurrect their match winning form on Wednesday evening when local rivals Clogher return to The Palace Grounds. Armagh are still reeling after the 31-0 pasting they handed out to Armagh only ten days ago!
What ever way you look at it there is a real nail-biting end to the season in what is well known to be the most entertaining league in Ulster rugby.

Armagh seconds played their Crawford cup semi final in Coleraine against the local thirds on Saturday. In sunny and warm conditions Armagh kicked off into the strong breeze. Coleraine collected the ball from the drop out and using the wind promptly dispatched it down into Armagh’s 22. With defensive kicking into the breeze very difficult, Coleraine now had an offensive lineout and with a clean catch and drive their forwards drove over at the posts for a seven pointer on 4 minutes. This provided Armagh with a wakeup call and after receiving recycled ball from the forwards on the 10 metre line Robbie Faloon went on a jinking run beating several defenders. When tackled, the ball was kicked over the line and Simon Cuttle won the race to touch down for a try on 8 minutes. With Matthew Steenson’s conversion the score stood at 7 – 7. On fifteen minutes Willie Hill scored a try after a lineout in Coleraine’s 22 with a good catch and drive. The forwards were working well as a unit with the front row of Carlisle, Smyth and Richard Morton providing a solid platform in the scrums. Just before half time the home side scored a try in the corner after good support play to leave the score at 12 – 12. Coleraine kicked off to restart the game and immediately won the ball from the dropout. After several phases they touched down for a try far out to bring the score to 17 – 12. Armagh’s plan to use the wind to kick to the corners and play the game downfield wasn’t helped by the high penalty count against them and some wayward kicking. Eventually, after good work by the forwards Benny Lamb burst through to score at the posts with the conversion by Steenson Armagh led 19 – 17. With confidence rising Armagh again found themselves attacking in the home 22, however a switch move led to Simon Cuttle being high tackled 10 metres out. After a few handbags were swung the Coleraine fullback and Freddie were yellow carded and sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes. Andrew Knipe moved to scrum half and some sharp thinking led to him taking a quick tap ball from the resulting penalty and forcing his way over at the posts. Steenson converted to give Armagh some breathing space at 26 – 17 with 10 minutes to play. Coleraine upped the ante again to score another try on 75 minutes, however Armagh were able to see the game out in Coleraine‘s 22. This performance needs to be vastly improved if Armagh are to achieve any success this season. Too often first up tackles were missed and poor ball retention and decision making at crucial times led to playing the game in the wrong areas of the pitch. The final will be played at Ravenhill on Easter Tuesday the 26th April against Coleraine 2s.

Similar Posts