Armagh seconds kicked off the new season in style on Saturday with a well-earned win at Shaws Bridge against Qualifying league one giants Cooke. The game kicked off with Armagh choosing to play up the slope into a strong wind. Cooke immediately used the wind to pressurise Armagh in the their 22 dominating possession and using their wingers at every opportunity. On 8 minutes the Cooke right winger evaded several tackles to score a converted try in the corner, 7-0 to Cooke. Five minutes later an Armagh player was penalised 30 metres out in front of the posts to give Cooke a very kickable penalty for another 3 points, 10-0 to Cooke. By this time Armagh were starting to warm to the task and the forwards were making inroads into the Cooke defence. Led by Captain Davy Martin, the ball was taken up the middle of the pitch with Brian Bassett and Con Oliver to the fore. On 25 minutes the Armagh backs broke through the Cooke defence to take play into the home 22 where Gareth Warnock drove forward towards the line moving the ball to Jonny Allen who put Jonny Clarke in at the corner for a good team try. As halftime approached, Cooke opted to take a difficult penalty kick from distance which fell wide of the posts. Halftime score 10 – 5 to Cooke. With the wind and slope in their favour, Armagh kicked off determined to up the ante on Cooke by keeping them pinned in their 22. A clearance kick by the Cooke winger was charged down by Stuart Lester who seized possession and started off on a run to the line. After some good interplay by the supporting Jonny Allen and Timmy McNeice, the ball came back to Stuart who touched down in the corner. The difficult conversion attempt was missed by Timmy McNeice, Cooke 10 Armagh10. Cooke by now knew they were in a battle and at this stage the Armagh scrum started to dominate with the young front row of John Fletcher, Warnock and Jason McMahon forming a solid partnership. With Jonny and Ethan Allen marshalling the backs, Cooke had difficulty making inroads through the visitors defence. Such was Armagh’s intensity there seemed to be two tacklers available each time Cooke carried the ball. A successful penalty by Timmy McNeice on 60 minutes gave Armagh a deserved lead, 13-10. On 75 minutes with play deep in the Cooke 22, Jonny Clarke picked up from a scrum and went blind diagonally to the corner and from the ensuing ruck the supporting Davy Martin picked up and powered over for an unconverted try. Armagh 18, Cooke 10. Cooke scored a consolation try in the last minute and with the conversion being missed the referee blew the whistle for full time. Armagh 18, Cooke 15. This was a tremendous team performance from the Armagh seconds side making their debut playing at this level. Debutants John Fletcher, Gareth Warnock and Lewis Morton all played their part in an enthralling game. Jeffrey Allen made a welcome return to the side and provided his usual mobility around the pitch. Freddie and Simon Cuttle kept the Cooke defence on their toes by varying the play at halfback. Next game is Inst 2’s in the 2nd XV league at the same venue next week.