The next stage of the Medallion Schools Plate saw Dalriada away yet again, this time the long journey to the highly fancied RS Armagh.
On a very boggy and wet pitch the game kicked off and from the start the much larger Armagh pack showed their intent with pick and drive after pick and drive, pinning Dalriada into their own 22.
Some great turnovers from No 8 Malcolmson and scavenging from Christie and Knipe kept Dalriada in the game, and Strang and Sparks with clearances to halt the Armagh onslaught. But it was the Dalriada backs that struck first, in a rare foray into the Armagh half a sweeping move ended with centre Henderson outflanking the rushing Armagh backs and scoring just outside the posts. Sparks adding the conversion.
This spurned Armagh on and the forwards drove at Dalriada and it was hardly surprising when, after, phase after phase, a pick up and drive from the Armagh forwards resulted in a try the conversion added bringing the half time score to 7-7.
The second half saw much the same with the Armagh forwards driving at the Dalriada line but the Dalriada blanket defence led by centres Finnerty and Henderson were holding firm, Dalriada then began to turn over the Armagh forwards who began to get increasingly frustrated. A couple of substitutions - Magee on for Eymere and McCarron on for Kane - freshened things up for Dalriada and they started to take the game to Armagh, when a resulting penalty, which would have been easy to take the three points was declined.
Dalriada decided to run it and got their rewards for adventure when centre and captain Henderson crashed over for his and his team’s second try narrowly missed by Sparks, 7-12 to Dalriada.
There was still nearly ten minutes for the never say die Dalriada team to hang on and see out a thoroughly deserved and dogged win, which made the long drive home not only very loud but very much more enjoyable. Bring on the next round !
Kane (McCarron), A Christie, Graham, Torrens, Montgomery, Knipe, M Christie, Malcomson, Eymere (Magee), Strang, Jamieson, Henderson, Finnerty, Hunter, Sparks
The 1st XV play their next game in the Subsidiary Shield on Wednesday this week also against RS Armagh this time at home with a 2.45 ko, all support will be much appreciated.