Armagh3 v Enniskillen2 Matach report 16-12-2017


City of Armagh 3rd XV took on Enniskillen 2nd XV in the home leg of their Provincial League 3 encounters at the Palace grounds on Saturday. The firm pitch and greasy ball did little to encourage flowing rugby but the Armagh men were determined to beat the opposition by more than the one point margin in the away match back in September. It was nearly five minutes into the match before Armagh got their hands on the ball and it took strong defence by the Armagh pack inside their own 22 to keep Enniskillen at bay. A penalty allowed Armagh to clear their lines and a second got them down to the opposition 22 but a crooked throw by hooker Killic handed the advantage back to Enniskillen.

The next 20 minutes were played in the middle of the pitch with both teams finding that holding on to the passes in the cold conditions was a challenge. The best opportunity fell to Armagh who got to the Enniskillen 5m line but could not cross the try line despite the efforts of the props C Chapman and Andy Fletcher. However it was Enniskillen who scored first on thirty minutes going in at the corner and although the conversion was missed it was 0-5 to Enniskillen.

Armagh responded quickly from the restart and a kick ahead from a maul by scrum half Trevor Girvan was gathered by Andy Brady who burst up the wing in typical fashion leaving Enniskillen in his wake. With the try secured it was down to Andrew Knipe for the conversion which was narrowly missed for 5-5.

Armagh kept up the momentum with fullback Andrew Winder coming into the back line to take a nicely floated pass from centre Ruari Karlsen and feeding Brady for his second try and a 10-5 lead at halftime.

Jack Gilpin came on for the second half and Armagh entered a more controlled mode of play. Two minutes in and captain Neill Lutton at number 8 secured the ball at the back of the scrum off-loading the ball to Girvan who found flanker Connor Simms who in turn could not be stopped from a short distance for Armagh’s third try. This time Knipe got the conversion for a 17-5 lead. Into the final quarter and it was the speed of Winder and his ability to sidestep tackles that secured the bonus point try for Armagh and 22-5. The last ten minutes was all Armagh’s with substitute Mike Ross scoring an unconverted try and Glenn Faloon charging down an Enniskillen clearance kick inside their 22 for Armagh’s sixth try of the match. This time Knipe secured an additional two points with the final kick of the match. The final score of 34-5 would suggest an emphatic victory for Armagh but it was far from easy with Enniskillen attacking at every opportunity and handling errors on both sides throwing away the advantage. There were many instances of individual brilliance by all of the Armagh team of C Chapman, M Killic, A Fletcher, J Faloon, C Oliver, C Simms, J Clarke, N Lutton, T Girvan, G Faloon, A Brady, A Knipe, R Karlsen, J Dougan, A Winder and subs J Gilpin, M Ross and J Dunn.

The thirds go into the Christmas break with a healthy seven point lead over nearest contenders Harlequins 2’s. Next up is a home match against Randalstown 2’s on 6th January.

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