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NUTTY KRUST FLOODLIT TOURNAMENT 2011
Armagh/Monaghan 17 Portadown 6
The combined Armagh/Monaghan team proved too strong for hosts Portadown in Wednesday night’s closely contested Nutty Krust semi final. The final scoreline was somewhat flattering to Armagh/Monaghan as they scored tow tries in the closing minutes of what proved to be an enthralling encounter.
As was befitting a match that could be billed as a local derby both sides gave their all in a game dominated by well organised and determined defences. Armagh/Monaghan had the first opportunity to get on the scoreboard when the hosts were penalised for offside but the kick failed. Instead it was Portadown who opened the scoring after 20 minutes when following good back play by left wing Michael Busby who took play deep into Armagh/Monaghan territory, the referee awarded a penalty to the hosts. Out half Robbie Thompson, who had a fine game on the night, slotted it to give Portadown a slender 3-0 lead until just before the half time whistle. Portadown flanker Stuart Lyness was yellow carded and Armagh/Monaghan took advantage of the extra man when following a series of attacks prop forward James Puttharee, whose ball carrying and scrummaging made him one of he stand out players on the night, barged over to score an unconverted try leaving the hosts trailing 5-3 at the half time interval.
Restored to their full complement of players, Portadown opened the scoring 10 minutes into the second half when Thompson was once again successful from the tee with a penalty awarded for an infringement at the breakdown to restore Portadown’s lead. For the next 20 minutes play defences were on top as both team’s tried to gain the upperhand. Following a scrummaging infringement Armagh/Monaghan took a quick tap penalty and the ball was fed to former Portadown player James Knox whose strength and pace took him through several defenders to score and give Armagh/Monagahan a 10-6 lead. Portadown to their credit tried to attack,knowing a final converted try would see them through to the final, but resilient defence saw their attacks repelled and from a turnover Armagh/Monaghan sealed the game & a place in the Nutty Krust Final through a try by replacement Chris Brady, converted by full back Mark Curley.
On the night Armagh/Monaghan were well served by Man of the Match James Knox, prop Puttaharee and centre Conor Blacklock whilst centres David Busby & Chris Cousens looked dangerous in attack for the hosts and their lock Ryan Muldrew got through a lot of good work in both attack and defence.
Armagh/Monaghan now await the outcome of Thursday night’s semi final between Omagh and Rainey to see who they will face in the Nutty Krust final on 4 May.