Armoy took a big step in their quest to secure back to back Minor League North titles with a well manufactured win against UUC II.
The match started with the students receiving the kick off and from the outset it was clear that any forward ball they would create would be via their young fast backline. For the first 15 minutes the home side kept Armoy on the defensive but could not make a decisive breakthrough. Eventually after 15 minutes a breakthrough was made but it was Armoy who made it. Armoy secured possession from a ruck on their own 10 meter line.
The ball was quickly passed out to wing forward Daniel Ramage who broke 2 tackles then raced clear into the UUC half and under the posts for a score. Converted by J Traynor. Again the students set about their task and were rewarded with a penalty just inside the Armoy half on the 5 meter line. They surprisingly opted to kick for goal. However to the dismay of the Armoy players and sizeable travelling support,the UUC full back slotted the mammoth kick over quite comfortably. The rest of the half was played out with both teams probing for weaknesses. However it was the students who exploited them as Armoy were penalised a further 3 times before the interval and on each occasion the full back slotted the kicks over.
Half time UUC II 12 Armoy 7
At the start of the second half the Armoy pack rumbled up the pitch but were penalised just inside the UUC half. Again up stepped the full back to add another 3 points to his tally for the afternoon.
This was to be the last score of the day for the students as the Armoy forwards ramped up their efforts and used their vast superior weight advantage to make inroads onto the UUC goal line. From a series of pick and goes they found themselves camped inside the UUC 5 meter line. The breakthrough eventually came when loosehead prop Neil Porterfield picked and drove and used his not inconsiderable bulk to drive over the line for a try. Converted by J Traynor.
With only a point between the teams the Armoy pack used their physical dominance to punch holes in the UUC defence again, they worked their way up the pitch via many phases of ruck ball.
This time the ball was fed out to the backs and out to centre Gordon McConnaghie who ghosted through the UUC backline and under the posts. Converted by J Traynor. Armoy now had a 6 point lead but did not take their foot of the gas. Once more the forwards rumbled up the pitch and forced themselves up into the 5 meter line this time it was tighthead prop David Linton who picked up from the base of the ruck and touched the ball down on the line for a try. Converted by J Traynor.
From the kick off the ball landed in the hands of no 8 Ian Caldwell who broke 2 tackles and passed the ball out of the tackle to Daniel Ramage who showed great strength to break out of 2 tackles and again raced clear and under the posts for his second score of the day. Converted by J Traynor. With minutes remaining Armoy kept the pressure on and were awarded a scrum on the 5 meter line. The ball was picked up by Caldwell who was halted just shy of the line. The ball was quickly fed out to the backs and centre Barry Kelly had the simplest of tasks to run under the posts unopposed for a try. Converted by J Traynor.
Final score UUC II 15 Armoy 42
After the match captain Gareth Christie thanked every player for their superb efforts and put the victory down to an excellent team performance. He also requested that everyone make a special effort to get to training on Wednesday night in preparation for next Saturday’s Butler shield match at home to Inishowen.
Team line up: N Porterfield, A Bartlett, D Linton, K Greenlaw, R Shannon, D Ramage, G Christie, I Caldwell, P Austin, C Nesbitt, R Bartlett, B Kelly, G McConnaghie, M McConnaghie, J Traynor. Subs D McClafferty, S Caufield.