City Of ARMAGH rugby Club II XV 16 v Lisburn Rugby Club I XV 1XV 14: Junior Cup 1st Round

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Venue Palace Grounds Armagh – 1 October 2011
With Armagh gaining senior status it is now up to the 2nd XV to represent the club in the prestigious Junior Cup and Towns cup events. The team rose to the first challenge when they beat Qualifying 2 side Lisburn 1XV in a bruising encounter at the Palace Grounds on Saturday. With the 1st XV playing their game in Cork the Junior Cup game at the Palace grounds drew a good home crowd. 3 forced changes were made to the side that beat Banbridge 2s last week. Injured Johnny Clarke was replaced by James Morton, injured Simon Cuttle was replaced by Matthew Allen and unavailable Willie Martin was replaced by his brother and captain of the side David Martin.
In the opening exchanges Armagh came out of the traps with an intensity that Lisburn found it difficult to live with. Sustained pressure created by the forwards produced a penalty which the impressive young out half Matthew Steenson slotted over after 4mins. On 7mins Armagh took a scrum against the head which nearly put Robbie Faloon in at the corner.

The Armagh front row of Simon Carlisle, James Johnston and Philip Fletcher were giving Armagh a significant edge in the scrums however the Lisburn defence were proving difficult to break down in the loose, managing to spoil the ball at crucial stages. In the line-out James Morton, Willie Hill and David Martin were not only securing their own line out for Armagh, but also stealing a lot of Lisburn ball. It wasn’t until 24mins that sustained pressure and driving runs from centre Johnny Allen and second row Brain Bassett produced another Armagh penalty. Steenson converted from 40m to make the score 6-0. On 34mins young Armagh centre Robert Straghan burst through and overloaded to Johnny Allen who rounded the Lisburn full back to touch down for a well worked try. Steenson added the extras and Armagh were 13-0 up. On 39mins Armagh should have had another try however Faloon was deemed to have a foot in touch. Garth McNeice stole ball which looked to have put Josh Morton in however the Lisburn defence held firm. Half Time 13-0.
Although the second half turned to be a scrappy affair the contest was still enthralling. On 43mins a Lisburn kick to the corner was not dealt with by the Armagh defence and an alert Lisburn winger found a fortunate bounce and showed good pace to race in for Lisburn’s opening try. The try was converted to leave the game in the balance at 13-7. On 45mins Armagh introduced subs John Faloon and Pete Lambe. Armagh continued to dominate the forward exchanges and had a Josh Morton try disallowed for a forward pass after a break from Johnny Allen. On 55mins the referee awarded Armagh a penalty for Lisburn backs straying off-side. Steenson maintained his 100% kicking on the day to bring the score to 16-7. 5mins later a Josh Morton counter attack should have been finished off by Armagh however the pass was dropped. Not only did Lisburn clear their own lines but 2 mins later they produced another try to set up a tense final 10mins of the match. In the end however Armagh had enough know how to see the game out and finished in the Lisburn half.
2nd XV Coach David Eakin and captain David Martin has called on their players to maintain the training and enthusiasm that is required to win at this level, and hope for a home draw in the next round.

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