City of Armagh fours travelled to Stormont to face a Civil Service side lingering at the bottom of the table. Armagh found themselves not far adrift of them after failing to field last week. This was a great opportunity to get their season back on track and gain some momentum going into their cu game in a few weeks time.
The team being lead by Paul Cully owing to regular Captain David Loughran's recent injury began the first half well, they managed to keep possession right from the off and put their opponents under sustained pressure with wave after wave of attack. The first score of the game came completely against the run of play with the hosts slotting over a penalty in front of the posts following some poor discipline by Armagh at the breakdown. However it wasn't long before the game was level once again this time with a penalty of our own for a similar offence. Matthey Heaney was successful with the kick.
Indeed Heaney had a chance to put Armagh further ahead following a high tackle on himself unfortunately he was unable to score the resulting penalty with the ball going narrowly wide of the upright. Armagh saw themselves with a numerical advantage as the hosts lost a man to the bin for the high tackle just previous. The lads sensed a great opportunity to kick on and they did not let this opportunity pass them by. They opted to take a quick tap and run at their opponents, a strategy that thankfully paid off. Gareth Crozier who was only recently introduced following a serious head injury to second row Sam Straghan, was able to stretch over the line and a mass of bodies to touch the ball down for the first try of the game. Heaney scored the conversion and Armagh now found themselves 10-3 ahead with the first quarter of the tie coming to a close.
Armagh's numerical advantage was to be short lived as the referee opted to send Paul Cully to the bin as well in a rather dubious decision. The opponents scored their second penalty of the game to reduce the deficit. The lads got the rub of the green shortly after the restart when a botched clearance kick by the hosts deep in their own half was caught by fullback Jamie Monaghan. Jamie was able to negotiate his way through some heavy traffic and across the line before touching down. Matthey Heaney added the conversion in what was the last action of the half. Half Time Score; Civil Service 06 Armagh 17.
Armagh emerged for the second half looking to continue from where they left off, their kicking game was getting them in great positions up the field largely due to the accuracy of both Heaney and fly-half Stuart Agnew. It was not long before they were able to extend their lead with the now impeccable boot of Heaney adding another penalty. The lads were making great strides up the field with some strong ball carrying from the physical centre pairing of Cully and debutant Jack Gilpin. Indeed it was a strong run by the aforementioned pairing that led to Armagh's next score of the game. A ball stole at the rear of the opponents lineout by flanker Oisin McGleenan was quickly spread to the backs who found sufficient gas in the hosts defence and were able to penetrate them.
Young Jack Gilpin was fed the ball and used all of his strength to knock two lads out of his way en-route to touching the ball down over the line. Heaney added the conversion to leave twenty one points between the sides midway through the first half. Not content with the one try Gilin pursued a second and got one! This time coming from an impressive run by Cully through the heart of the Civil Service defence, he was then able to spread the ball wide to Gilpin who stretched over the line once more. Scrum-half Heaney added the conversion to leave the scores at 34-6 to the visitors. With the game all but over Armagh did not relent, the continued to work hard at their game and were operating efficiently both in attack and defence.
An intercept in the middle of the field saw fly-half Stuart Agnew embark on a clean break where he managed to weave through a series of defenders on a great solo run before finishing under the posts. With Heaney's boot now on autopilot the two touch judges had their flags already raised before he even kicked the ball, their confidence was rewarded as Heaney send the ball straight through the middle of the posts to leave the scores at 41-6 to Armagh with the final ten minutes of the game looming. The hosts day went from bad to worse as they had a layer dismissed with a red card following dissent. A final score by Armagh from Hooker James Knox was the icing on the cake for this well earned Armagh victory. Heaney added the conversion with his eighth kick from a possible nine in an outstanding individual performance. Full Time Score; Civil Service 06 Armagh 48.
A great team victory inspired by some deadly individual performances ensured this Armagh team did not return from their travels empty handed. They will look to extend this from and bring it into next weeks game against the P.S.N.I at home as they build towards their cup game in two weeks time.
Team: J.Monaghan, G. Graham, J.Gilpin, P. Cully, J. Johnston, S. Agnew, M. Heaney, A. Fletcher, J. Knox, N. Lutton, I. Webster, S. Straghan, A. Hume, O. McGleenan, D. Black, G. Crozier.
Photo Credits: Jackie Donaldson