With the First Fifteen's game away to Seapoint called off due to a water logged pitch the Second's game with Dungannon in the first round of the Powerade Towns Cup was one of the few fixtures to survive Storm Frank anywhere on Saturday. Despite the almost incessant rainfall experienced all week the Palace Grounds remained playable and in firm condition.
Having already met twice previously this season with Armagh winning on both occasions the home team were keen to put on a good show in this local derby.
Right from the kick-off Dungannon exerted some heavy pressure on the home side with the heavy visiting pack forcing their way to within ten metres of the Armagh line. The gritty defence from the home back row, however, were seen to turn over the Dungannon ball and the home out-half, Kyle Faloon, sent a fine clearance up the touch-line to relieve the pressure. This clearance enabled the Armagh backs to open an attack and this led to a visiting defender being penalised for failing to release a player after a tackle. This led to Kyle Faloon open the scoring after only ten minutes play.
The first scrum of the game followed shortly after the re-start which showed the Dungannon pack’s forte. They were able to dominate the set piece but were seen to lose out in open play. This coupled with the sound half-back combination of Faloon/ Spratt was seen to open up a series of attacks on the Dungannon side. William Martin, returning after a lengthy injury, picked up from the base of a ruck, fed to Zak Kneebone, in turn sent Gareth Hutchinson over for Armagh’s first try at the posts. Faloon’s conversion brought the score up to 10-0.
Dungannon’s scoring was opened when the home side were caught off side after twenty minutes play and John Buckley’s kick put the score up to 10-3. The home side were penalised just five minutes later for collapsing a scrum right in front of their posts. Again Buckley’s kick was good to narrow the score to 10-6. Immediately from the re-start Armagh’s backs combined to send Full-back Robbie Faloon over for a try close to the right corner. The conversion went wide to leave the score at 15-6 on half-time.
After the break the Armagh side certainly looked the sharper with the backs making repeated breaks and linking well with their forwards. The home back row were seen to put in a great afternoon’s work both in defence and attack. This well structured play led to Armagh’s centre scoring the third try of the day. Again Faloon’s conversion was on target to push the score to 22-6. The final score of the day came in the dying moments of the game when man-of-the-match, Kyle Faloon, touched down in the right corner. The conversion fell just short but the result went, fittingly, to the more polished side. Indeed, the only points scored against Armagh were as a result of them being penalised, mainly for being over keen!
Photo Credits: Ken Redpath