The seconds played host to Larne seconds on Saturday at the palace grounds. With the pitch firming up after the continuous wet spell, the surface suited a young Armagh side eager to play an expansive game. Armagh kicked off with Larne receiving the ball and then spent a period of time in defence mode as Larne created a series of attacks inside the Armagh half.
Eventually the home team gained possession and set off up the pitch through Trevor Girvan and his backline of Boyd, Allen and Campbell. With the forwards taking over inside the visitor’s 22, and after several pick and drives, Jonathan Morton drove off a ruck to touch down midway out. Boyd added the conversion for a lead of 7-0 to Armagh. Larne tried to put some phases together but good defence by the home side restricted them to the midfield. Quick ball was then moved wide on the halfway to Boyd who stepped inside a defender and then passed to the supporting Josh Morton who beat a couple of defenders to go over at the corner for an unconverted try.
The Armagh front of Grant Hutcheson, Jack Sleator and Eoin O’Hagan were very influential both in the tight and open play. O’Hagan broke through a couple of Larne tackles to set Conleth Magillan on his way to touch down at the corner. Boyd knocked over a good conversion for a halftime score of 19-0 to Armagh. Larne then spent some time on the Armagh line and just when it seemed that the defence would crack, Paul Campbell turned over the ball and set off on a great forty metre run up the pitch to relieve the pressure.
On the resumption, it was evident that Larne wanted to keep the ball with their big forwards for a spell, however the Armagh backrow of Morton, Rolston and captain Mcneice were putting the tackles in to keep them at bay. Robbie Faloon playing at fullback returned the ball with interest when he made a break into the Larne 22 which ended with Josh Morton collecting his second touchdown at the corner. Another good strike from Boyd increased the lead to 26-0.
Shortly after, Jack Sleator who was having a great game in the loose made another break which ended with an offload to McNeice who showed great pace to score in the corner, 31-0 to Armagh. Winger Matthew McSorley who had been very industrious throughout the game got his reward when he made a 30 metre dash down the wing to score at the posts. With the conversion again by Boyd, the referee blew up early for a 38-0 win for the home team. This was a good performance by the seconds as Larne made them work hard for the win.
Photo Credits: Ken Redpath