UNDER 16S WIN PREMIER LEAGUE
Armagh’s under 16s have won the premier league section for the second time in succession when they travelled to Virginia in County Cavan last Saturday and narrowly beat a strong Virginia side 32 points to 22. Played in ideal conditions Armagh started of slowly and went behind fairly early on through 2 well taken tries. They bounced back through a well worked try in the corner by Tiernan O’Neil which was not converted .Both teams were playing very attractive rugby at a great pace and it was no surprise when Virginia extended their lead with a n opportunist try by their talented scrum half. Again the kicker could not convert this try but being 15-5 down Armagh knew that they ere in for their hardest game of the season so far. They continued to play their expansive game and were rewarded with another O’Neil try which was converted by Cormac Fox.
The second half started off in the same vein with the big Virginia pack giving the Armagh eight plenty of problems. The scrums were fine but the lineout failed to function on occasion and as a result Nathan Rogers was getting a poor service. Strong words from coach Antoine Finn stung the Armagh boys into more commitment in the second half and this added to the fact that the Virginia coach emptied his bench meant that Armagh were able to raise their game and score 3 more tries through Paul Mullan, Shea O ‘Brien and Niall McKee. Fox converted one and was able to relieve the pressure with some great tactical kicking. Virginia were not yet finished and were able to score a converted try of their own to leave the final score 32 -22 in Armagh’s favour.
This was a really testing match for Armagh who if ruth be told have had it too easy this year so far. Virginia are however an excellent side with 3 or 4 Ulster representatives in their side .They have a very powerful pack with their prop an outstanding player and their scrum half will keep any back row on their toes . Their centre is a strong runner and was able to break through the Armagh mid field to set up dangerous attacks. Armagh had to dig in deep to maintain their unbeaten record and we know that we were in a game last week. All credit to Virginia and their coaches because they have to make long journeys to play the game and it might even easier for them to play in Leinster given the travelling they have to do.
This Armagh side are proud of their achievements and now go into to play offs. If they can maintain this consistency they should win the league and then they can look forward to a good cup run.