Armagh1 v Lansdowne RFC Match Report 04-01-2020


Lansdowne RFC 20 City of Armagh RFC 17

Saturday 4th January 2020
Match Report by Richard Black:

City of Armagh came away from Dublin bitterly disappointed not to qualify for the final of the Bateman cup for the second year running.
Indeed they put up one of their bravest displays ever against Lansdowne, a Division 1A side, who they had never played before. The Armagh side had nothing to lose going into this game and really only wanted to put up a polished performance and to prove that they can compete at the highest level of club rugby in Ireland. The day before the game they were dealt a blow in that Paul Mullen was a late cry-off and Harry Doyle, Chris Colvin, James Hanna and Daryl Morton were all still not fit to play.
The match was played at a hectic pace with Armagh matching their opponents in most phases of the game but Lansdowne got the bounce of the ball particularly in the first half when the visitors gave away 11 penalties in total and as a result, they found it difficult to get a foothold in the game. The catch and drive at the line-out was well controlled by Lansdowne and this is how they scored two of their tries from through Leinster Academy hooker Dan Sheehan. There was also the issue of 2 yellow cards to Neil Faloon and Phil Fletcher so Armagh had to play the first half for 20 minutes with 14 men. They also lost their captain Robbie Whitten with an injury and he was replaced by Oliver Miller.
At half time the team talk was simple, the need to cut out the stupid penalties. The pendulum then swung in Armagh’s favour and they started off the second half with great determination. Unfortunately they lost prop Andrew Morton, injured in a tackle after 5 minutes of the restart and thus Peter Lamb had to play the full game. He played like a man possessed and took the ball many times into the Lansdowne defence, always able to break the gain line. As a result of their tremendous defence, Lansdowne started to panic and a kick was charged down by JJ Scheepers who then tackled the full back who held on to the ball conceding a penalty. A quick tap penalty taken by JJ enabled him to barge over the tryline for Cormac Fox to convert and narrow the scoreline to 3 points, 13-10. Armagh were not finished yet and with 34 minutes on the clock they went into the lead following a fine catch and drive with the ball then popped up to Gerard Treanor to sell a dummy and find a gap to put Armagh into the lead with 6 minutes to go at 13-17.
Lansdowne immediately looked to rescue the match and with 2 minutes on the clock, another rolling maul from the lineout saw them kick to the left corner. Mervyn Brown on for Andrew Willis, couldn’t prevent the left winger making a clean catch and when the ball was recycled, a huge overlap on the right enabled Sheehan to cross for his hat trick of tries. Tim Foley converted to give Lansdowne a 3 point cushion, 20-17.
Armagh were not yet finished and with Lansdowne giving away several penalties in injury time, Armagh could easily levelled the scores at 20-20. Extra time would have been necessary and even if the score remained level Lansdowne would have got through on the fact that they scored 3 tries to Armagh’s 2.
Armagh then kicked to the corner on two occasions. With one minute to go, they went for a rolling maul which collapsed on the tryline. Many spectators thought they had a legitimate shout for a penalty try to win the game but the referee awarded a scrum to the home side and Lansdowne were able to clear their lines as the final whistle blew.
Final score Lansdowne 20 City of Armagh 17.
Attention now turns to the Second’s Junior Cup final on Tuesday night and the very important AIL game next Saturday at home against Banbridge.

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