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Armagh /Monaghan under 19s maintained their unbeaten record this year with a hard fought 19-3 victory over their nearest rivals Virginia at the Palace Grounds. There hadn’t been a match for 3 weeks due to the poor weather and it showed in the team’s first half performance. They had all the ball and territory, but couldn’t manage to get that final surge over a very determined Virginia defence. Their patience paid off however when after sustained pressure, Lorchan McGillan slotted over a simple penalty. As so often happens the locals went to sleep at the restart and immediately Virginia got back into the game when the local wing forward strayed off-side at a ruck. So for all their efforts the scores were equal at half time.
The second half was much the same with the locals dominating possession and territory, but unable to convert this into scores. Lorchan again put his side into the lead with 2 excellent penalties one from 45 metres. As a result Virginia lost their cool and after a very unsavoury incident when all 30 players were
involved in a massive free for all, referee Victor Outram had to warn both captains and players. Thankfully matters calmed down somewhat and we got back playing a very competitive game. Armagh /Monaghan sealed their victory 10 minutes from the end when their hooker Conal McGonigle drove over for an excellent try. To rub salt further into the Virginia wounds Lorchan stroked over a magnificent conversion from the sidelines.
It would be unfair to single out anyone in such a magnificent performance as all 17 players gave their all, but James McMahon at no 8 showed how much potential he has as a player. The locals have won all their league matches this season and hence won their section. They will now have a quarter final home draw against either Ballymoney or City of Derry due to be played on New Years day.

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