City of Armagh travelled to play MU Barnhall in Kildare on Saturday and successfully negotiated another away win in Division 2B.
Armagh dominated the first quarter but found the Barnhall defence much tighter than in the game at Armagh. An early chance of 3 points was missed by the visitors who found themselves penalised frequently at the breakdown. The break-through did come on 25 minutes with the referee sending a Barnhall prop to the sin bin for killing the ball and Armagh kicked to the corner. The forwards secured the lineout and drove towards the Barnhall line. Scrum half Doyle popped the ball to winger Andrew Willis and he used his strength to power over for an unconverted try.
With the visitors 5 nil in front, they found themselves a man down when James Morton received a yellow card for a ruck infringement. The home team took full advantage and Simon Gillespie kicked a penalty to open Barnhall’s account at 3-5. Barnhall then took the lead five minutes before halftime, when winger Ben McCarthy touched down in the corner following a well-timed cut-out pass on the Armagh 22. Gillespie kicked a superb conversion from the touchline for a 10-5 lead which they held to the interval.
Armagh started the second half in determined fashion and scored a try two minutes after the restart. A penalty was kicked to touch and after a number of phases, Daryl Morton made a storming run and crossed for a try by the posts for Harvey Young to convert and the visitors now led 10-12.
Barnhall then dominated the third quarter with Armagh having to defend sustained pressure from the home team who were having their best match of the season. Midway through the second period the Armagh forwards put Barnhall on the back foot with some good driving play. Flanker James Hanna then spotted a gap in the home defence and broke through from the 22 to score at the posts. Young converted the score to put the visitors ahead 19-10.
Barnhall raised their game for the last quarter eager to get something out of the match. A series of penalties gave them territory in the Armagh half and a quick tap penalty saw Harry Doyle sent to the sin bin for not retreating 10 yards. Gillespie kicked the resultant penalty to close the gap to 19-13. Armagh were then awarded a penalty on the Barnhall 22 which Young converted, after the referee over-ruled the touch judges, to stretch Armagh ahead 22-13.
Barnhall however were to finish the match strongly and with five minutes remaining the home team were rewarded when winger McCarthy scored his second try of the day, taking advantage of some poor Armagh defending. With the conversion missed, Barnhall ended the match camped on the Armagh line but the visitors managed to hold out for a valuable victory.
City of Armagh returned home with 4 points and share top spot in the league with Greystones with 3 games remaining. Their next match in the All Ireland League is a derby game at home to Dungannon on March 25th.
Photo Credits: Ken Redpath