Armoy lose out to Civil Service in tough encounter


SATURDAY saw Civil Service 1st XV visit Limepark to take on Armoy in the latest round of fixtures in Qualifying League 4.

The last time the teams met this season Civil Service had a comfortable cushion of 40 points as Armoy were masters of their own fate and failed to get the basics right.

The visitors could have been forgiven if they had expected a similar outcome this time around if the current league positions were to be used as a gauge. However there is a new air of belief and enthusiasm at Armoy who are perhaps starting to find their feet in the Qualifying league.

On a windy afternoon Armoy had the task of playing into the wind and from the opening kick they used there superior bulk in the forwards to keep the Civil Service men penned inside heir own half. However the Civil service out half used his boot and the wind to launch the ball deep into the Armoy 22 from just outside his own 22. Armoy managed to secure their own line out and kicked the ball into touch from the resulting lineout Service got the ball out to their backs who met a very tight defence from Armoy.

From the resulting ruck the referee penalised Armoy just inside their own half. Service opted to kick for goal and the ball flew straight and true for the opening score. From the restart Armoy again pressed the Service forwards into action but conceded a scrum for a knock on. The Armoy scrum was dominant all afternoon and praise must go to Damien McClafferty who did exceptionally well at loosehead prop a position he is unfamiliar with.

However the wily Service outhalf once more managed to hoof the ball deep into the Armoy 22 once more. The resultant line out was deemed to be not straight and from their own scrum service recovered well despite being driven 5 yards back to retain possession.

They fed the ball out to their backs who went form one side of the field to the other. It was here that Armoy showed a bit of naivety and committed too many players to the breakdown. Again the service out half showed good thinking and made a diagonal run across the field which was devoid of defending Armoy players.

He side stepped the Armoy tighthead and into the 22 where he was valiantly tackled short of the line by Armoy wing Malachy McClafferty, unfortunately he stretched out and managed to place the ball on the try line for a score. (unconverted).

After more dogged play from Armoy the referee again awarded service a penalty just inside the Armoy half and again the Service out half slotted over for 3 more points. In other matches this season the failure to get the rub of the green would have deflated the Armoy spirits but this was not the case this week.

Even though they were playing into a strong wind the Limepark men put some good phases of attacking play with both forwards and backs playing as a unit. Their positivity was eventually awarded with a penalty on the Service 22 which was slotted over by out half Aiden Boyle. It would seem that the Armoy resurgence was to be short lived when Service were awarded another penalty on the Armoy 10 metre line again this was converted.

Armoy restarted and were quick to close down any hint of a Service attack. From a Civil Service scrum the dominant Armoy scrum forced the Service scrum half to get the ball to their out half.

This time Armoy centre Sammy McMullan charged down the clearance kick which bounced nicely into the hands of on rushing out half Aiden Boyle who fell over the line under the posts for a well deserved try. (Converted)

Half Time Armoy 10 Civil Service 14.

After a very rousing half time team talk the LimePark men sensed that an elusive win was achievable. They set about their task with great enthusiasm and used their scrummage to good effect to put Civil Service on the back foot. Armoy spent a lot of time in the Service end of the field but couldn’t find the killer last pass to punish the Service defence with a killer blow.

Credit must also go to Civil Service who defended resolutely to repel the Armoy onslaught. Armoy must also be praised for not allowing Service to create a single scoring opportunity in the second half.

On hearing the final whistle the Civil Service men cheered more out of relief than elation.

Once more this season there was a sense of what might have been from the Armoy team but from 1-15 they played as a unit and it would be fair to say they deserved a more favourable outcome.

Captain Barry Taggart was pleased with the performance and pressed to all playing members to attend training on Wednesday nights. It will only be by training as a team they will win as a team and they couldn’t have came much closer to that goal than this week.

Praise also to Kieran McHendry and Corey Millar who made their 1st team debuts on Saturday both players acquitting themselves admirably.

There seems to a great deal of unearthed talent in Moyle and beyond and Armoy RFC are keen for anyone wanting to give rugby a go a platform to do so.

Training is on Wednesdays at 7:30pm at the club and they would love to see you there.

Armoy Team v Civil Service: 1. Damien McClafferty 2. David Linton 3. Neil Porterfield 4. Corey Millar 5. Johnny Elliot 6. Kyle Greenlaw 7. Michael McGaughey 8. Barry Taggart 9. Barry Kelly 10. Aiden Boyle 11. Kieran McHendry 12. Sammy McMullan 13. Gordon McConnaghie 14. Malachy McClafferty 15. Enda Casey.