Armagh travelled to north Dublin to play their eighth fixture in the Ulster Bank All Ireland League. The game was in jeopardy due to the weather conditions on the preceding forty eight hours. All credit has to go to the diligence of the Suttonians ground staff who, with the help from the local fire service had pumped, over four inches of flood water off the playing surface. The pitch was still in a fairly soggy condition but the referee’s inspection resulted in the game going ahead. CLICK HERE FOR ACTION SHOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Armagh kicked off in calm conditions but strayed off side and were immediately penalized. On fielding the kick they immediately launched a rolling maul and set off for the Suttonian’s line. The resolution shown by the Armagh forwards was such that they scored their first try from this maul. The touch down was awarded to Andrew Morton. Dylan Ferreria’s conversion was on target to put Armagh 0-7 up after two minutes play! The referee then yellow carded the Suttonians flanker for attempting to illegally pulling the maul down. After another ten minutes of fairly scrappy rugby Armagh’s winger, Josh Morton rounded his opposite number and touched down the visitor’s second try. Again the conversion was on target and Armagh looked strong with the score at 0-14. Armagh had settled into playing the conditions well and were dominating all aspects of the game. Just before the break Armagh’s centre, Andrew Winder, burst through the defence and kicked ahead. An adept bit of clearing from the Suttonian’s full-back saved another Armagh try. The referee blew for half time with the Armagh team clearly for in contror of the game.
With the floodlights now on the second half started with Armagh being penalised for straying off side. As the referee let the play run seeking advantage the Suttonian’s out half scored a fine drop goal to bring the score to 3-14. Armagh’s full back, McNiece, made two very strong breaks and on both occasions managed to bring play close to the score line.
With play obviously going Armagh’s way the game took on a strange role when Suttonians ran in a breakaway try just to the left of Armagh’s posts. With the successful conversion the score was now 10-14 and bringing the home team into a losing bonus point position.
Just after the restsart the referee was forced to yellow card the home number 8 for repeatedly straying off side. With this numerical advantage Armagh made their final pushover try look easy! The try was awarded to second row forward, Phill Hill. The home team’s discipline now appeared to take a turn for the worse. The referee had a long conversation with the home blind side flanker and made it clear that he was on a final warning with the threat of a red card.
The game ended with the visiting team having a firm grasp of the game. It must be said that the last time Armagh played at the JJ McDowell Grounds Suttonians ran in 14 tries and won 83-13. Today’s game certainly indicated Armagh’s progress. The Man of the match award went to stand in prop Andrew Morton who illustrated the strength available to the Armagh selectors.
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