Armagh Win Opening Second xv League Fixture
With 3rd place secured in the conference league, Armagh seconds played their first 2nd xv league fixture against Ballymena seconds at the Palace ground on Saturday. Even though there was some thawing snow on the playing surface, the game still turned out to be keenly contested with the home team capitalising on their try scoring opportunities to comfortably win the game. With both teams sizing each other up in the early stages it wasn’t until the 15th minute that Josh McKinley made a 30 metre break with ball recycled by Gareth McNeice who went over at the posts. Jonny Pollack added the additional 2 points. The forwards continued to battle hard in the forward exchanges with the front row of Ventor, Sleator and O’Hagan prominent. Con Oliver took the ball on supported by McKinley and with quick ball flashed to the backline by Holden, Kyle Faloon crossed at the corner flag for another converted try. 14-0 to Armagh at halftime. With the half time team talk focusing on ball retention, the game resumed with the same intensity with the Ballymena out half making good use of the ball to pin the home side in their own territory. Robbie Faloon, Steenson and Allen in the centre were keen to run the ball at every opportunity, however the ground conditions were proving a hindrance. McNeice made another break with Oliver, Ventor and Magillan continuing the play with excellent ball carrying. Matthew Steenson was able to spot a gap in the Ballymena defence and dived over for a try at the posts. Pollack added the extras to give the home team a comfortable 21-0 lead. Ballymena kept trying to play good rugby, however when possession was turned over by Matty Allen on the half way line, Kyle Faloon scorched over in the corner for the all important bonus point try. Some minutes later with the game “on the blow” the Ballymena full back showed good pace after a break by their wing forward to finish the game with a converted try, fulltime 26-7 to Armagh.