Armoy march into Butler Shield semi final

Enda Casey lineout. INBM35-14 S
Enda Casey lineout. INBM35-14 S

ARMOY 12 BANGOR III 3

Armoy took a further step in gaining a trophy in their 40th anniversary season with a spirited display against Bangor III at Lime Park on Saturday, writes Neil Porterfield.

From the outset the weather conditions were less than ideal with gale force winds and freezing rain driving across the Lime Park turf.

The opening exchanges in this match were evenly contested with both teams using the wind to their advantage in gaining good field position.

It was after 20 minutes that Bangor opened the scoring slotting a penalty over the posts after an Armoy player was adjudged to have not rolled away quick enough at a ruck.

The next score came 10 minutes later and it was for the home team. Armoy’s forwards asserted themselves by keeping the ball in hand and rumbling up the park. Some great runs from Stevie Bartlett, Vinny Scullion ,Gareth Christie and Barry Taggart had broken the gain line each time and Armoy found themselves camped inside the Bangor 22.

From a series of rucks Enda Casey picked the ball from 2 meters out and drove over for a deserved team score. The conversion was cooly slotted over by Alan Bartlett to make it 7-3 to Armoy.

Both teams decided to hold their half time team talks inside the shelter of the Lime Park stand with many of the Bangor men in particular looking like Leo DiCaprio at the end of Titanic.

Into the second half and Armoy asserted themselves into attack mode and again it was Bartlett, Scullion,Christie and Taggart who were taking the ball into contact which was quickly being recycled by scrum half Barry Kelly.

The Armoy forwards and backs were linking well to keep the momentum going and it was Enda Casey again who added the finishing touch to drive over for his and Armoy’s second try of the day.

Armoy were now in the ascendancy and were looking to kill the game off. However there were no more scores as with 18 minutes of the match remaining Bangor conceded the match as they were haemorrhaging players to the warm of the showers with signs of hypothermia.

At first the referee declined as a cup match has to be played in full. It was only on the interjection of the Bangor coach that the referee agreed to blow for full time early.

Armoy were willing to play on and had introduced veteran scrum half Tom Christie to the play. The talk in the stand was that it sight of this rugby legend entering the fray that made Bangor concede.

Praise must be given to all players on both teams who took part and delivered a very entertaining match in some atrocious weather.

Special praise must go to the 18 Armoy players who stuck to their task and ensured that our fantastic wee club progressed to the next round of the Butler Shield.

Armoy now travel to play Strabane II in the semi final on March 21.