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Armagh 2XV v Randalstown 1st XV –Conference League
This match was the proverbial “game of two halves” with the home side taking the honours in the first half and Randalstown fighting back after half-time.
It was maybe not the start to the season the ‘Town outfit would have wished for, although Head Coach Gary Longwell decided to introduce a number of players with limited experience at this level in an effort to strengthen the 1st XV squad for the forthcoming league campaign, and they acquitted themselves well in difficult circumstances.
Early pressure from the home team resulted in a well taken try which was converted to give Armagh an early 7-0 lead. Disaster then struck Randalstown when centre Darryl McGarry had to go off with a leg injury, only to be followed to the touchline by his team mate D Smyth with what at first looked like a serious injury. With a two man advantage Armagh began to take control of the game and by half time were in a 38-0 lead, the result of a number of well taken tries.
Head Coach Longwell’s half time talk brought immediate results and the second half saw a vast improvement in the depleted Randalstown’s efforts. Superb effort by both forwards and backs saw them stem the Armagh scoring. The visitors began to put pressure on the home team with great work from captain Neil Foster, well supported by I Hume, Mark Allen and the rest of the forwards . In the backline the pick of the players was Blayne McGarry as he made a number of try saving tackles; also worthy of mention are the efforts of all the players on the pitch who never gave up despite being outnumbered for a large part of the game.
Further bad luck hit the Randalstown efforts with three more players having to leave the pitch with a variety of injuries, leaving the referee Chris Russell with no option but to blow the final whistle as it had become too dangerous to continue.
Despite the result the Randalstown coaching staff will take some comfort from the second half display and hopefully none of the injuries will be too serious as the Club prepare for next Saturdays Junior Cup match against Rainey RFC.
The same cannot be said for the Under 19s who played a friendly against their Instonians counterparts on Saturday afternoon, and unfortunately John Carson sustained a serious injury as he broke both bones in his arm. John is currently in the Royal Victoria Hospital awaiting surgery and all at Randalstown wish him well, and a speedy recovery.
Team-V thom/A Johnston/D McGarry/B McGarry/C Campbell/R Baillie/M Smyth/r Loughlin/S Mowbray/S Adams/M Allen/N foster/D Smyth/I Hume/C ferry

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