2 minutes, 19 seconds Read

Ever since the final whistle blew two weeks ago in Sligo signalling Armagh’s demise from the All-Ireland Junior Cup the snow had not let up. Not to be beaten the Armagh grounds team took the decision that if the pitch was cleared of snow the Palace Grounds would be fit for rugby. So the services of Brian Hyndes landscape services was called on. By Thursday evening all the snow had been scraped off the playing surface. But by this time the thaw had set in so rugby had returned to the Palace Grounds for sure! This was good news as match postponements lead to annoying congestion at the end of the season. It was, indeed, imperative that the Junior Cup semi-final fixture scheduled for Saturday should go ahead. The match was sponsored by The Town of Monaghan Co-op and the match ball was sponsored by Anton Finn.
The Dromore team arrived at the Palace Grounds and started their warm up routine over two hours before the kick-off. This keenness illustrated that they were keen to repeat the form they showed in the recent League game played at Barban Hill. They had held a narrow three-point lead right up to ten minutes before the final whistle. But then Armagh ran in three tries and secured a bonus point all within the last ten minutes of the game. Would they be able to push Armagh about again and make them panic again?

The spectators had to watch the game from behind the piles of snow that had been cleared off the pitch. This created a strangely isolated atmosphere for the crowd. To add to the difficulties the cold weather gremlins had penetrated the scoreboard. The electronics seemed to be sulking and refused to boot up before the kick-off.
After only seven minutes of play the home team had already stamped their mark on to this game. With a relatively easy try and conversion under their belt they showed that this was not going to be a repeat of the Barban Hill game. The forwards took complete control of the set pieces and the backs gave a demonstration of fine penetrating running. Armagh scored a total of eight tries and completely routed the visiting team. Each try showed some fine off-loading and illustrated what an entertaining style of rugby this team can produce. With ten minutes left to play they were 52-0 ahead and only for what would be called a consolation try the game would have ended with a blank score sheet.
Armagh are back with a vengeance. They travel to Shaw’s Bridge to play the league leaders, Cooke, next Saturday. This fixture always produces some fine rugby and if Armagh can produce form like they showed on Saturday it promises to be a clinker!

Similar Posts