Cookstown Rugby Club win top of the table clash: Armagh 0 v Cookstown 45

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Cookstown RFC emerged victorious from this top of the table clash with Armagh RFC at the Palace Grounds. Cookstown arrived at the venue early and with a steely focus on the task that was at hand; to topple the highly rated Armagh Dream Team in their own back yard.
The game kicked off in wet conditions, however the excellent playing surface at the Armagh RFC allowed for a fast game of running rugby. An early penalty following an obstruction by an Armagh player allowed Cookstown the opportunity to put some points on the board. However Out half Ciaran Currie was narrowly off the mark with the boot. Continued pressure saw most of the rugby played in the Armagh 22, the home side’s relief only coming as a result of Cookstown’s indiscipline at the break down.
The first score of the day did eventually arrive when a poor attempt at a Garryowen from the Armagh full back resulted in a knock on. Armagh were penalised at the resultant scrum and Ciaran Currie had no problem in knocking over the penalty.

Try as they might, Armagh had no way out of their half. Excellent work from Pomeroy man Denver Nugent (Kenver 1) resulted in a number of deep forages in the Armagh 22 and allowed Cookstown to build phases. However indiscipline at the breakdown hampered scoring opportunities.
A number of good lineout steals from second rower Adam Stinson allowed Cookstown to retain possession and take the game to the Armagh eight. In the back row local door man JP Reah was influential at the break down, putting in the big hits and stealing ball. Armagh were clearly struggling to contain the Cookstown onslaught and a further penalty in front of the posts put Cookstown into a 0-6 lead.
Good work in the loose from backrower turned second rower Martin Devlin led to a scrum in the Armagh 22. A solid scrum allowed Daryl Donaghy to whisk the ball wide to outside centre Kezzy Nugent (Kenver 2) who scored in the corner. The conversion was missed. Score 0-11.
This move appeared to ignite the Cookstown backline with Kenver and fellow Pomeroy man Ciaran McKenna leading the charge. A fine chip ahead from full back McKenna allowed him to collect where he offloaded to the supporting Kenver 1 who played a great one-two with Kenver 2. This move almost resulted in a brilliant score only for some last ditch tackling from Armagh. The halftime whistle went, much to the relief of Armagh who were very lucky not to concede more tries before half time.
The second half kicked off with a litany of errors and a fine score. From the outset Cookstown got into trouble in their own 22 which required a good clearance from Denver Nugent. An Armagh knock on and a solid Cookstown scrum allowed for a good pickup and blindside break from JP Reah. A mix up in running lines resulted in the ball going forward where Armagh elected to kick but did so into the hands of Ciaran McKenna. Ciaran audaciously took out four Armagh men with one sidestep and popped to Daryl Weepu who scampered in for a try on the corner. Ciaran Currie converted to give Cookstown an 0-18 lead.
With their tails up, Cookstown started to run riot. A great take from the restart by debutant Kevin Park allowed Ciaran Currie to put up a big Garryowen. Good pressure from the chasing Ronan Campbell forced Armagh to spill. The ball was collected by the rushing Kezzy Nugent who showed a clean pair of heels to score in the corner.
A massive hit by second rower Adam Stinson saw the ball turned over to Cookstown who ran in uncontested for a fine try. Ciaran Currie converted to give Cookstown a 33 point lead.
Midway through the half Cookstown made some changes, Chris ‘The Unit’ Moore entered the fray for the injured Adam Stinson, Owen Mallon came on for Richard Brown and the bearded Dave Weir replaced Daryl Donaghy at scrum half.
Another stolen lineout resulted in a fine break from backrower Thommo. A quick pass from Dave Weir put Denver Nugent into space where he cut infield and off loaded to brother Kezzy who then popped back to the supporting Ciaran McKenna who sidestepped his opposite number to score beside the posts. Brilliant work from the Pomeroy Three. Ciaran Currie converted to give Cookstown an unassailable 0-38 lead.
The final score of the day came as a result of some excellent pressure from tight head Owen Mallon at the scrum. The resultant turnover saw Ronan Campbell break the Armagh defensive line where he offloaded to the supporting Thommo who scored under the posts. Try converted by Ronan Campbell. Final Score – Armagh 0 Cookstown 45.
This was a good performance from Cookstown. The team applied pressure on Armagh at every aspect of the game; in the air, at the breakdown, in the lineout and scrums, it was a matter of how long Armagh could hold out before the floodgates would open.
Team captain Ryan Eastwood and manager Mark Brown expressed their pride for the boys and awarded man of the match to Winger Denver Nugent (Kenver1) who put in an unreal performance. A special mention must also go to Kevin Park who had his first start of the campaign at blind side flanker and put in a solid performance.
Squad: R.Brown, S.Rea, L.Currie, A.Stinson, M.Devlin, Thommo. K.Park, JP Reah, D.Donaghy, C.Currie, D.Nugent, R.Campbell, K.Nugent, C.Harte, C.McKenna, C.Moore, O.Mallon, D.Weir, M.Boone, S.Quinn, M.McKeown, B. Loughran, G.Stinson.
The following day Cookstown RFC held a Rugby World Cup final Breakfast at the Glenavon House Hotel Cookstown. A collection of 80 plus of Cookstown’s finest personalities were treated to a magnificent breakfast as they watched the All Blacks claim world cup glory. The club would like to thank Glenavon House Hotel for accommodating the event.
This year the players and management will be taking part in ‘Movember’ in aid of a local charity. The boys will be sporting a fine set of whiskers throughout the month so support is most welcome.

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