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Itís a long way to travel but no joy for City of Armagh.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Itís a long way to travel but no joy for City of Armagh. thumbnail Josh McKinley takes a high line-out ball!

CITY of Armagh travelled to Cashel in Tipperary on Saturday for the first of back to back fixtures in the Ulster Bank All Ireland League.

CASHEL...13
CITY of ARMAGH...10

With both teams level on points in the league, a close encounter was expected and this proved to be the case and it was Cashel who came out on top by a narrow margin, 13-10.

Following their epic win over Queen's University the previous week, Armagh travelled with confidence but were missing key back row players, Ali Birch, Neil Faloon and James Morton.


John Faloon returned in the centre and Chris Cousins started at outhalf.

Armagh kicked off in fine conditions but found themselves penalised eight times inside the first 10 minutes play for various rucking offences.

Coached by former Ireland player, Denis Leamey, the Munster side were keen to dominate up front but once the game settled, it was obvious that the packs were evenly matched.

Early pressure from Cashel led to the game's opening try when their hooker touched down following a well-controlled rolling maul.

The conversion went wide but a successful penalty 10 minutes later from Dara Lyons put another three points on the score board to see the home team ahead, 8-0.

In response, Chris Cousins kicked a penalty to narrow the score to 8-3 at half-time.

Following the restart, it was Armagh who raised their game, looking to cut out the errors from the first half.

The Cashel outhalf cleverly pinned Armagh back in their half with good positional kicking, looking for his forwards to drive towards the Armagh line. The visitors were able to fight their way twice from their five metre line to launch attacks into Cashel territory from this defensive position.

Despite this resolute defence, the Cashel pressure paid off with their second try of the game midway through the second half.

The conversion was unsuccessful but with the score at 13-3, Cashel seemed to have the match under their control.

Again, however, the Armagh resolve came good when, following a number of phases number 8, Robert Whitten broke clear and reached the Cashel 22 where he was tackled by the home full-back.

Following some good recycling, winger Ryan Purvis scored a fine try close to the left post.

Chris Cousins' conversion brought the score to 13-10. In the dying moments of the game, the home team were seen to tire and Armagh began to dominate if a little too late in the game and the whistle went for full time with Cashel holding out for a narrow 13-10 win.

The Armagh coaching team were not happy to have lost the match, but satisfied with a losing bonus point.

The teams meet again this Saturday at the Palace Grounds and Armagh will hope their injury list will be reduced so they can return to winning ways.

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