Armagh3 v Instonians Match Report 15-02-2020



Gareth Megaw celebrated his birthday in style on Saturday with two tries in Armagh Thirds victory over Instonians Seconds in the quarter final of the Crawford Cup at Shaws Bridge. In atrocious conditions with heavy rain and a strong wind for most of the match it was Armagh that controlled the game denying Instonians any scoring opportunities. Referee John Adams judged that the match could go ahead on a pitch that, although waterlogged, was firm underneath. Captain, Andrew Brady was unable to play due to a foot injury and Sam Shepherd was called in as a late replacement while Brady provided encouragement from the sidelines with coach David Eakin and a good contingent of Armagh supporters.
It took both sides some time to settle into the conditions but on 15 minutes Armagh won a scrum against the head and Megaw was quick to gather the ball and surge over under the posts leaving the simplest of conversions for Andrew Knipe and 7-0. Conor Simms was sidelined with a head injury and Ross Finlay came on as substitute.
The Instonians pack was strong and forced Armagh to concede ground and penalties but they were unable to convert this supremacy into scoring opportunities. The Armagh defence held firm and cleared their try line on a number of occasions. Armagh’s second try came as the pack worked the ball forward for second row Con Oliver to touch down right of the posts for 12-0. Armagh’s third came just a minute later when they recovered the ball from the restart. With Instonians drawn in to the centre of the pitch Scrum-half, Trevor Girvan, released the ball to the backs through Winder, Knipe and Allen to Dan Reynolds on the right wing. Dan was able to run in unopposed for 17-0.
A fourth try, this time by Neil Lutton and the conversion by Knipe gave Armagh a healthy 24-0 half time lead.
The second half was a dour affair with Instonians chasing the game and Armagh content to consign the opposition to their own half and of course it was birthday boy Megaw who rounded off a man of the match performance with a try under the posts. The conversion by Knipe rounded off a great team performance where every player from 1 to 15 and the three subs played excellent rugby in awful conditions.
Based on this performance City of Armagh Thirds can go into the Crawford Cup semifinals on 21st March brimming with confidence. In the meantime the same Instonians side will be the opposition next week in Provincial League 2 at the Palace Grounds.
Armagh team: N Lutton, T Henry, J Johnston, W Martin, C Oliver, T Johnston, C Simms, G Megaw, T Girvan, A Winder, N Jennings, A Knipe, M Allen, D Reynolds, S Shepherd, A Magowan, J Gilpin, R Finlay.
Tries: G Megaw (2), C Oliver, D Reynolds, N Lutton.
Conversions: A Knipe (3)

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