With foul weather putting paid to the back-to-back fixture with Seapoint, City of Armagh, with five league wins under their belt, were keen to retain this form on their trip to the Dublin game. A water-logged pitch however, meant Armagh had made a wasted journey. The result of this unfortunate fixture break was that the Armagh side were left without a scheduled game until they entertained Sundays Well at The Palace Grounds on 9th January. To retain a degree of match fitness a friendly fixture was arranged with Portadown on Saturday at Chambers Park.
The game kicked off in good conditions but with a freshening breeze at the backs of the home team. Right from the start Armagh began to set the pace of the game with winger, Andrew Willis, storming through the Portadown defence to score his first try of the day in the left corner. Johnny Pollock’s conversion sailed just wide in the now freshening wind to leave the score at 0-5.
From the re-start Armagh were penalised for a front row infringement and the wind assisted kick put the home team inside the Armagh ’22’. From the resultant line-out the Armagh defence appeared to lose concentration & permitted a Portadown lock to touch down at the posts. The conversion put the home team ahead 7-5.
At this stage the foul weather closed in with the driving rain assisting the home side. Armagh appeared to be taking control of the game, however, repeatedly winning ‘turnovers’ and dominating the set pieces. Stephen Morton scored a fine try just into the second quarter closely followed by Neil Faloon. The latter was converted to bring the half-time score to 7-17.
As the second half kicked off, Armagh appeared to up the pace of the game, leading to tries from John Faloon and Zak Kneebone. Johnny Pollock converting one to add another twelve points to the mounting score. Scrum-half Matty Wright then broke wide from the base of a ruck inside the home ’22’ to touch down under the posts. Again Johnny Pollock was able to add the conversion. The scoring was closed off at 7-43 when man-of-the-match Andrew Willis scored his second try.
The City of Armagh coaching team was delighted Portadown RFC facilitated this fixture at short notice and emphasised that the game had succeeded in functioning as an excellent work out with several squad players getting game time. The focus will now be turned to the crucial re-arranged fixture at Seapoint now re-scheduled for Saturday 2nd January 2016.
Photo Credits: Ken Redpath