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Armagh Seconds Trounce Banbridge Seconds

The seconds played their second game in the 2nd fifteen league on Saturday against Banbridge at the Palace grounds. On a fine sunny day the spectators were treated to an exciting and for a time a closely contested game in which the home side only pulled clear in the second half. No sooner had the game kicked off when a loose ball was picked up in the home 22 by Kyle Faloon who spotted a gap and made off up the pitch wrong footing three defenders on the way to score at the posts. He added the conversion and the locals were off to a flying start. With the forwards winning a good share of the ball, Holden and Faloon at halfback were eager to set the backline in motion with Pollock and Steenson looking sharp in the centre probing at the Banbridge defence. A penalty awarded to Armagh was converted by Faloon on 20 minutes, 10-0. Shortly after, a Banbridge player lost the ball in the tackle from Steenson who hacked the ball on for Andrew Brady to claim the touchdown. Banbridge upped their play with some enterprising rugby which finished with a try in the corner from their winger. With the conversion the halftime score was now 17-10 to Armagh. On the restart it was the visitors who applied the early pressure, however the Armagh defence lead by Gareth McNeice, Jonny Morton and Eoghan Baxter put in some big hits to thwart what was now looking to be a useful Banbridge side. There were spells when the home team were under pressure in their own 22. When the home side did regain possession, Robbie Faloon added another try in the corner after more good team play to stretch the lead to 24-10.

A lack of discipline and a number of handling errors allowed Banbridge back into the game. A front row player was sin binned for hands in the ruck with Banbridge camped on Armagh’s Line. After a number of phases, the visitors threw the ball out wide only for Brady to intercept and run the length of the pitch to score in the corner for his second of the match. Faloon missed with the conversion, 29-10 to Armagh. With the referee handing out yellow cards to both sides, the game became more open to Armagh’s advantage. Some good phase play allowed Baxter to break a couple of tackles and score to the left of the posts. Faloon converted, 36-10. It was Faloon who had the final say of the match with a carbon copy of his first try. He gathered a loose ball at the club house side of the pitch before setting off on another weaving run which ended with him scoring under the posts. With the conversion , the final score was 43-10 to the home side.

Armagh will undoubtedly be pleased with the final score line, however they know they will need to cut out silly errors and improve their discipline with a couple of important weeks ahead.

     Wanderers RFC 23       City of Armagh RFC   14

Armagh travelled to Dublin to play Wanderers on the back pitch at

the Aviva Stadium to kick off part two of their All Ireland League programme. Unfortunately for the visitors, it was the home team who played to their strengths on the plastic pitch, winning 23 – 14 and ending Armagh’s 21 week unbeaten run this season.

On a chilly, crisp afternoon, Wanderers kicked off and an early penalty saw Armagh take play in to the Wanderers half. The home team were penalised for not rolling away in the tackle and outhalf Cormac Fox opened Armagh’s account for a 0-3 lead.

The visitors were contributing to the fast pace of the match and centre Harvey Young made a stunning 40 metre run into the Wanderers half. Unfortunately the break ended with a penalty to the home side when the referee judged on an illegal hand off which also merited a yellow card.

Down to fourteen men, Armagh should have stretched their lead when Ali Birch broke away and fed the supporting Chris Colvin. The scoring pass to Willis did not go to hand and an opportunity was missed.

Wanderers seized the initiative and a couple of penalties brought play into the Armagh 22 and full back Niall O’Donoghue crossed for a try converted by Ciaran Wade to give Wanderers a 7-3 lead.

Young returned to the field but Wanderers were playing some great running and off-loading rugby. The visitors were penalised again and a successful kick from Wade put the home team ahead 10-3.

A penalty from Fox reduced Wanderers’ lead to 10-6 but not for long as the home team kicked a further 3 points to edge ahead 13-6 as halftime approached. A quick lineout from Armagh led to another attack by the visitors with James Morton leading by example. Wanderers transgressed on their 22 and Fox converted his third penalty to make the score 13-9 as the half time whistle blew.

The second half commenced and Wanderers were still dictating the pace of the game with their expansive style of play. It was remarkable the home team barely kicked the ball for most of the match.

Armagh were finding it hard to keep possession and penalties from both sides made play disjointed. Armagh winger, Willis was yellow carded and Wanderers kicked a penalty two minutes later to stretch ahead


With 20 minutes remaining and Armagh on the back foot, Wanderers scored a second try when second row Harley Murray burst through some weak Armagh defence. The successful conversion gave the home team a comfortable 23-9 lead.

The visitors however lifted their game and an Armagh penalty was kicked into the corner. A forward drive was illegally stopped by Wanderers and their number seven was sin-binned. With the extra man, Armagh elected for a 5 metre scrum but their drive to the line again saw Wanderers penalised. A third scrum saw a third penalty to Armagh but still no penalty try. A silly knock on then let Wanderers clear their line.

With ten minutes remaining, Armagh gave themselves a lifeline when winger Ryan Purvis received the ball on the Wanderers’ 10 metre line and he scorched down the wing to touch down by the corner flag. The difficult conversion was missed and a 23-14 scoreline meant Armagh were still without a losing bonus point. The visitors pressed for a score as the clock ticked down and a Wanderers winger was sin-binned for killing the ball. It looked like the home team were going to hold the visitors at bay and that was the case when the final whistle sounded.

The huge Armagh travelling support were disappointed in defeat but all agreed Wanderers had been the better team on the day.

The Armagh coaching staff were disappointed in the team’s flat performance that failed to match the intensity from Wanderers, but will be glad of a home match this Saturday to allow the team to bounce back. Greystones will be the visitors to the Palace Grounds and a titanic first versus second battle is on the cards which will have a massive influence on the destiny of the league title.

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