Armoy finished off their league campain with a vist to Stranorlar Co Donegal, to play Finn Valley in the inaugural meeting of the two clubs.
It was agreed prior to the match that the game would be played as a double header meaning that 4 league points were up for grabs for the victors.
It was Armoy who took the kick off and set about their task of pinning the home team deep inside their own 22. Finn Valley showed a few nerves in the opening exchanges and it wasn’t long before the more experienced Armoy pack took advantage.
Finn Valley managed to win their own line out ball but some agressive counter rucking forced them to spill the ball. This spillage was siezed upon by Armoy loosehead prop Neil Porterfield who scooped up the loose ball and barged his way over from 10 meters for the opening score of the day after only 2 minutes. Unconverted.
Armoy continued to press their advantage from the kick off and took the game back into Finn Valley territory. They didn’t have too long to wait for their next score.
From a Finn Valley scrum Armoy wing forward Gareth Christie charged at the Finn Valley out half who opted to kick in order to clear his lines.
The resultant kick was charged down by Christie who then had the simple task of falling on the ball for a well-earned score. Unconverted.
Armoy had most of the play in the first half but were not getting it all their own way as the home side refused to let their heads go down and showed great spirit and determination to battle through in order to create chances of their own.
After a good phase of attacks they were awarded a penalty which they opted to kick.
This was taken in their own half in front of their own posts in order to stop the ball being lost in the river which runs directly behind the goal. The kick was wide and play was brought back for a 22 drop out in the Armoy half.
Armoy then went on the offensive but on the very narrow pitch it was proving very difficult to create any gaps for their speedy backs to exploit.
Therefore it was the tried and tested forward route that was to create try-scoring opportunities. Sure enough it was a forward move that created the next score.
Some good work from the forwards led to the ball being shipped out to the backs. The ball was taken at pace as full back John Wallace ran into the line. He made good ground but was stopped 10 metres out. From the ensuing maul the ball found its way out to number 8 Kyle Greenlaw who had the simple task of touching the ball down at the back of the maul which had been driven over the line by some of the Armoy forwards. Unconverted.
The next Armoy score was a complete solo effort. From a defensive kick by the Finn Valley out half the ball fell into the arms of wing forward Daniel Ramage. He went on a charge at great pace with many of his own team mates struggling to keep up.
He side stepped-around two tackles and broke the third. He was now in the clear and trotted under the posts and touched the ball down for Armoy’s fourth try of the day. Converted by John Wallace.
Half Time: Finn Valley 0 Armoy 22.
At the start of the second half Armoy received the kick off and set about attacking once more. The ball was passed along the back line but was knocked on.
The bounce favoured the on-rushing Finn Valley winger who had showed a clean pair of heels and ran under the posts for an easy score. Unconverted. This try gave the home crowd some enthusiasm and some belief that a come back could be on the cards.
This was short lived as Armoy stayed camped in the Finn Valley 22. The next score of the game came from an Armoy scrum. A pick-up from scrum half Tom Christie found its way somehow in the hands of winger Richard Bartlett who had managed to exploit a massive gap that had appeared in the Finn Valley defensive line and touch down under the posts for a converted try.
The next Armoy score came from the forwards. A series of pick and go’s had edged Armoy deep into the Finn Valley 22. Armoy loosehead Neil Porterfield picked and made a dart for the line but was felled by two resolute tacklers.
However he managed to offload in the tackle to tight head prop Mark Donald who showed immense pace to run in the final yard and over for the score. Unconverted.
With 10 minutes remaining Armoy crossed the whitewash again. More rumbling forward play was halted 6 inches shy of the Finn Valley goal line. Wing forward Daniel Ramage picked up from the base of the ruck and touched down betweeen the legs of a Finn Valley defender. Unconverted.
To their credit Finn Valley rallied but could not break down the Armoy defence and were ultimately made to suffer. Armoy again pressed their advantage and were awarded a penalty 10 metres out.
This was taken with a tap and passed to Mark Donald who barged through the tacklers on their own goal line and rolled out of the tackle for his second score of the day. Unconverted.
Final score Finn Valley 5 Armoy 44.
With the 4 league points secured this left Armoy level with Inishowen at the top of the league with both teams on 31 points.
Many thanks to all of the Armoy travelling support and to Finn Valley for their superb hospitality and for a great match which was played in good spirit.
Armoy team: N Porterfield, A Bartlett, M Donald, R Shannon, B Taggart, D Ramage, G Christie, K Greenlaw, T Christie, B Kelly, R Bartlett, D Linton, G McConnaghie, J Cassley, J Wallace. Sub M McClafferty.