City Of Armagh RFC II XV 22 v Strabane RFC I XV 12 REPORT + I XV Report v Navan

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City Of Armagh RFC I XV v Navan

Armagh travelled to play Navan on Saturday still jubilant from their win over Skerries. Navan, on the other hand, were sore from their previous fixture having been defeated by Thomond.
Armagh kicked off in fine conditions in front of a very vocal Navan support. Immediately Navan made it obvious that they meant business and took control of both set pieces and open play. The Armagh scrum, normally one of their strong points, was seen to break up under pressure from an enormous Navan front row. Only when Phillip Fletcher was subbed on was the tide turned. After seven minutes the Navan out-half found a gap in the Armagh defense and touched down under the posts. He then converted to put Navan 7-0 ahead. This seemed to waken Armagh and after a beautiful display of handling from the entire backline Stuart Lester scored the first Armagh try. Shortly after this Phillip Fletcher forced his way over the Navan line assisted by Harry Doyle. For a mere five minutes Armagh led the score at 7-10, but another converted try brought the half-time score to 14-10.
Te second half kicked off much like the first with Navan quickly landing another converted try. Armagh’s captain, Phill Hill, scored and Reaney’s conversion brought the score to 21-17. Indeed, for a brief spell Armagh appeared to take control of the game culminating with Seamus Mallon scything through the opposition to score left of the posts. The conversion levelled the score at 24-24 game on!
Navan, however, had other plans and another try and penalty ended the game with 32-24 on the score-board.
The body language of the two teams after the game said it all. The Navan team were seen and heard to celebrate whereas the Armagh team knew they had underperformed. On the day they appeared to be complacent and their lacklustre performance was just not good enough to stand up to the pace and confidence of Navan.
Granted the Armagh earned a solitary bonus point for scoring four tries but they slipped from fourth to fifth slot in the All-Ireland League table. Their win put Navan, up the league from ninth to sixth place. Next week Armagh entertain Sligo at The Palace Grounds. No doubt there will be some stern words heard from coach, Andrew Hughes, at training on Tuesday evening!
Seconds come out tops against Strabane

Armagh seconds played Strabane 1st xv in A Qualfiying 2 conference league game on Saturday at the Palace grounds. In what was an overcast autumnal day and with both sets of forwards getting to know one another, the backs were playing a peripheral role in what was to turn out to be a error ridden game. On fifteen minutes, debutant Michael Campbell, playing at 12 cut through the Strabane defence from 30 metres out to touch down at the posts for a good opening try. With the conversion from Andrew Knipe, Armagh led 7-0. Strabane fought back by bringing play into the home 22 for a period. This resulted in a try in the corner after an overlap was created on 23 minutes. With the conversion missed, the score was now 7-5 to Armagh. As play resumed, handling errors from both sides spoiled several opportunities to add to the scoresheet. Girvan and Knipe combined well to put Davy Martin clear 30 metres out to score a good try in the corner. With the conversion unsuccessful, the half time score was 12-5 to Armagh. On the restart, Strabane upped the ante with Armagh spending some time on the defence. The scrums were a cause of concern for the home eight and at times it was only good work by Stephen Morton at 8 and Girvan at 9 which retrieved the situation. Throughout the game, Straghan, Monaghan and fullback John McDonagh were combining well to provide go forward ball. On 60 minutes after some neat off loading between the forwards, Stephen Morton went on a charge to the line some 15 metres out with several Strabane defenders hanging on. Much to everyone’s amazement he crossed at the corner flag for an unconverted try, 17 – 5 to Armagh. At this stage the home support were expecting the home side push on to close the game out, however Strabane had other ideas. They retorted immediately with a converted try under the posts to bring the score back to 17-12. The remainder of the game was spent in the Strabane 22 and after some forward exchanges, Lewis Morton scored a deserved try in the corner to leave the fulltime score 22-12 to Armagh.

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