Armoy RFC Notes: I XV had to dig deep to salvage a narrow win against a well drilled Malone RFC V XV

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It all started so well for Armoy after initially weathering the Malone onslaught from the kick off. Malone came out of the traps with all guns blazing forcing the visitors to defend. However the men from Lime Park held out and then applied some pressure of there own. Armoy started to assert themselve and were afforded a lineout inside the Malone 22 courtesy of a great kick to touch from a penalty by out half Craig Nesbitt, a theme that was to continue for the rest of the match. From the lineout the ball was caught by wing forward Barry Taggart and was driven on by the pack. From the ensuing ruck Malone were penalised, Armoy ran the penalty and with the ball in the hands of Ian Caldwell the big no 8 crashed through 3 tacklers under the posts for a try. Converted by J Traynor.
The rest of the half was played out with both teams taking turns in possession with Malone looking like the team most likely to score. Armoy defended well enough for the most part but seemed to have switched off after their earlier score.
With time running out in the first half Malone upped the tempo and were rewarded with a well worked try under the Armoy posts after a great move from their back line. Converted.
Half time Malone V 7 Armoy 7
During the half time team talk it was put to the Armoy players to raise their game after some lacklustre play in the first half. However this team talk failed to sink in immediately as 2 minutes after the restart Armoy found themselves 5 points down. From a Malone scrum just inside their own half the ball was fed out quickly to their backs who again showed some great support play for each other resulting in their winger going over in the corner for a try. Unconverted.
Ten minutes later Armoy were further behind and again the Malone backs were the architects. From a Malone scrum just outside the Armoy 22 the ball was again popped out to the back line. The Malone outside centre danced around 3 tackles and over for an easy try. Unconverted.
While behind the posts Armoy were told to buck their ideas up. This time it did not fall on deaf ears.
Armoy upped the tempo and asserted themselves into salvaging the cup tie. After a good spell of possession with contributions from both backs and forwards. Armoy had edged their way forward and were awarded a free kick 5 meters out from the Malone try line. Armoy centre David Linton showed some quick thinking and took a quick tap and drove towards the line grounding the ball on the line beneath the posts. Converted.
With only 8 minutes remaining it was game on. Again it was all Armoy putting on the pressure but falling short at the last hurdle. However all their hard work reaped its own reward. Some great picking and driving from the forwards brought Armoy within 5 meters from the try line. Armoy were awarded a kickable penalty which would have given them a draw. However the call came from Gareth Christie to run it. The ball found it’s way to Ian Caldwell and in almost a carbon copy of his earlier score he crashed over for a try with several Malone defenders crashing in his wake. Unconverted. With the last play off the match Armoy had snatched a victory and were into the 1/4 finals.
After the match Captain Gareth Christie thanked the players for their efforts in scraping a win but warned them that the level of performance that was on display for a large part of the match was unacceptable. If we play like that next week in Strabane we may not be as fortunate. A big thank you to Geraldine and Willie who travelled down from Armoy to support us.
Armoy team: N Porterfield, A Bartlett, R Shannon, R Gardner, D McClafferty, B Taggart, G Christie, I Caldwell, P Austin, C Nesbitt, M McConnaghie, D Linton, G McConnaghie, M Walker, J Traynor, Sub D McMullan.

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