Kukri Qualifying 1: Coleraine 10 Armagh 33

4 minutes, 3 seconds Read

Saturday 27th February. Report by Sue Roper. Pictures by Coleraine Chronicle Photographer.

This was by no means a classic affair between the top and bottom clubs in Junior One but the bonus point was secured and it means that Armagh are one step closer to their ultimate goal of promotion to Senior Rugby.

The game started with an early effort from Armagh with Matthew ‘Eddie’ Irwin running down the line to the Coleraine 22. But Coleraine players were not about to give up this season without a fight and with a push reclaimed ground up to the half way line. With the upper hand Coleraine tried to capitalise on every ball but the visitors defence proved as strong as ever. A pass out to Johnny Steenson reminded all the Armagh supporters just how steady and stable he can be as he took the ball up the line only to be hit by a Coleraine player and knock the ball on.

Although Coleraine claimed the scrum Armagh proved too strong and again went on the attack. A quick succession of passes saw the ball out to the wing were Manu passed to full back Steenson and then to winger Andrew Willis who went over for his first of the game.

With power out half Adam Gowing back to full fitness, the two point conversion was in the bag and Armagh were in the lead 7-0. After the restart Coleraine went back on the attack but Peter Elliott was playing out of his socks and Armagh gained the advantage. With the impetus Armagh continued to make ground and when a scrum turned into a ruck Timmy Clarke emerged the victor. Unfortunately, Gowing could not complete the score and Armagh remained 12-0.

As the game restarted into it’s final period of the half, Armagh went on the attack. The visitors stole line out ball and slowly advanced up the pitch but a few halts from the referee’s whistle stopped Armagh from advancing further.

The second half was to prove interesting for the spectators. Armagh played smart, simple rugby but were thwarted by poor decisions from the referee and their own small mistakes.

An early penalty to Coleraine just below the half gave the home side their first chance at points,and they duly took them to make the score 3-12. Play continued for a short period but after another dubious penalty decision from the official Coleraine decided that the only way to make up the deficit was to kick. The Coleraine kicker stepped up in his own half to take the penalty. Although the kick had the distance it hit the posts and the score remained at 3-12.

After the restart, Armagh slowly edged their way up the field again making sure that there were no mistakes. However, an unfortunate high tackle from the Coleraine number 5 marred the play and he was rightly sin binned. With the one man advantage, Armagh applied pressure to break the Coleraine line. It was frustration from the home side that turned three penalties in quick succession into a penalty try. An easy conversion from Gowing and the score was 3-19.

Straight away Armagh were claiming all the ball and a good solid scrum saw a brilliant ball to Matty Wright who then ran nearly to the 22 before passing to Willis to complete the move and claim the bonus point try. Gowing kept his head level and converted the remaining 2 points to take the score up to 3-26.

Armagh continued to make small breaks from the base of the scrum, but Coleraine were not going to make this win easy. They claimed the ball on the their own 22 and made their way towards the Armagh line. With a full on push from the base of the scrum and then an excellent pass to the wing, Coleraine went over for their only try of the match. Their kicker stepped up and made it the full 7 points to make their score 10 to Armagh’s 26.

The visitors had not finished and began a messy final period of play to see out the second half. A charge down the centre of the pitch by lock Phil Hill saw him had the play out to the wing and Leigh Manu. Manu then proceeded to run round four Coleraine players and touch the ball down near the posts for Armagh’s fifth of the game. Again Gowing made the conversion and took the total to 10-33.

Armagh finished the match knowing that they must continue to win every game with the bonus point to win the league.

Captain Morton and Coach Hughes are not looking that far ahead though and are firmly concentrating on the next game which sees Enniskillen making their way to the Palace Grounds. Earlier in the season it was a win for the Orchard men, but both captain and coach are taking nothing for granted.

Similar Posts