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City of Derry RFC 13 City of Armagh RFC 48

City of Armagh travelled to Judges Road on Saturday for their penultimate All Ireland League match against City of Derry and maintained their winning run with a comprehensive 13-48 victory.

With James Morton injured, Ollie Miller started in the pack, while John Faloon and Andrew Willis returned to the backline. City of Derry kicked off on an afternoon of glorious sunshine and were stunned when Armagh scored a try after 60 seconds. A loose kick up field was returned with interest and James Hanna broke into the Derry 22 before off-loading for Miller to touch down.

City of Derry regrouped and their forwards brought play up to the Armagh 22. A penalty was converted by Neil Burns from the 10 metre line to open Derry’s account at 3-5 and on 11 minutes the fullback put the home team into a 6-5 lead with a simple kick from in front of the posts. A beautiful restart from Young saw his kick into touch, five metres from the Derry line. Armagh’s attacking enterprise was rewarded when winger Willis ghosted through a static Derry defence to bring play up to the Derry line and number eight Neil Faloon burst over for Armagh’s second try which Harvey Young converted for a 6-12 lead. Derry responded to this set back and went back on the offensive in the Armagh half.
A promising attack by the home team was halted when John Faloon intercepted the ball and the winger was brought down on the Derry 22. Good recycling saw the ball fed to Andrew Willis and the winger showed his pace, touching down for try number three. Young kicked an excellent conversion from the touchline and Armagh led 6-19 with 17 minutes on the clock. The home team’s poor start could have been worse as another Armagh try was disallowed for a forward pass.

On 22 minutes, Derry scrum half Bloomfield made a good break up the wing from his own 22 and when Neil Faloon was sent to the sinbin, it looked like Derry could take advantage. It was Armagh however, who scored next, despite being a man down. Young spotted a huge gap in the Derry defence from 40 metres out and the outhalf touched down for Armagh’s bonus point try with 28 minutes of the game gone. With Derry behind 6-24, the home team showed character and fought back with a try when full back Burns scored out wide. A super conversion from the try scorer made the score 13-24 and Derry were right back in the game. Indeed the home team dominated the next ten minutes as they pushed for a further score in the Armagh 22. A penalty for foul play let the visitors off the hook and Armagh brought play back to the Derry half. A dangerous tackle on John Faloon was penalised and the winger needed lengthy treatment but no card was shown. The resultant kick at goal was missed and the half time whistle went with City of Armagh leading 13-24.

Armagh started the second half with Cormac Fox at outhalf and Ryan Purvis on the wing and it was the home team who took the initiative only for a knock on to end the Derry attack. Armagh were defending well and on 55 minutes Derry lock, Adam Bratton received a yellow card for slapping the ball out of Harry Doyle’s hands at a ruck. Fox kicked the penalty into the Derry 22 for the forwards to win the lineout and prop Daryl Morton was held up over the line after good work by Peter Elliott. From the five metre scrum, Neil Faloon scored his second try of the day from short distance. Fox’s conversion brought the score to 13-31.
Straight from the restart, the Armagh backline, who looked sharp all day, broke clear into the Derry half as centre Chris Colvin cut through at pace and passed to Andrew Willis who chipped ahead for Stewart Lester to touch down for the best try of the day.

On 60 minutes, the Armagh dominance continued with a penalty being kicked into the Derry corner.
The lineout ball went lose but Faloon recovered and slipped it to Daryl Morton who powered over for try number seven and Fox’s conversion made the score 13-43.

Derry tried their best to break down the well-organised Armagh defence and play became scrappy for a ten minute spell.

With five minutes remaining Armagh were camped in the Derry 22 and centre Richard Baird received his team’s second yellow card. The visitors pressed for a further score and the pressure told in the final minute when full back Tim McNeice off-loaded nicely to winger Willis to touch down for try number eight by the corner flag. The touchline conversion from Cormac Fox rebounded off the post and the referee brought the match to a close with the final score, City of Derry 13, City of Armagh 48.

With Greystones winning down in Dublin, the league title will be decided on the last day of the season and Armagh have a home fixture with Leinster side Bective Rangers which will determine whether or not they will require playoffs for promotion to Division 2A.

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