City of Armagh RFC 23 V St Mary’s College RFC 20
Energia AIL Division 1B
The Palace Grounds
Saturday 4th March 2023.
Exactly this day last year, we came to the Orchard County looking for a rich harvest only to be disappointed. Having been successful the last meeting of St Marys and City of Armagh at Templeville Road, we were rightly confident on this visit. Of course we were also wary, as now our hosts were leaders of AIL 1B. Having Mark Fogarty back was a welcome boost.
It was good to see a fine Marys crowd down in support. Pyner and Kevin Conboy, were of course there, with their flag to welcome their team. Frank Kennedy and Ronnie Douglas were there. Spike and Liam Birkett, Paul and Lorraine Dean and Brian and Laura Watters, the Hurleys, along with G-Mack and Patrick and Joan Crawford were all to be seen and heard.
Sadly, we lost by the slimmest of margins as we hammered away at the end looking for the winner. It is comforting to know we have a team that can compete with the top team, but sad that had we prevailed we should now be right in the hunt again for top four spot; particularly as to how the other games went.
It was a fine calm day that suited what we knew would be a particularly fast game. Games between our two teams are usually fliers and it was so again. In fact it was a super game and one which Sean’s lads could well have won and he has every right to be proud of their unstinting unceasing efforts; and the great strides they are making under his expert tutelage. Ronan led his men in a swashbuckling, never take a step back, manner and was once again at his best. In fact his entire team followed his fashion. The scrums of the two teams were a perfect match in an honourable contest throughout, as indeed were all the set pieces. The front row were strong and worked. Mighty Mick has already hit his targets. Richie is a treasure and proved it today and all know now Adam is a phenomenon. The second row were strong and reliable, Peter is always going to shine V his old pals and, well, you could put Daniel at 15 and he would fly it. The back row led by the boss is a top class commando unit, unit. Ethan was as ever the Exocet as he flew around the field. Niall Hurley is another of Sean’s stars. Today Niall was to the fore carrying both close in and in the wider channels, his tackle count was exceptional, as was his execution. He contributed ably in the lineout too and all round gave a notable performance for which he deservedly received the SoftCo MoM Award.
The half backs fitted well and kept the game going forward, Richie Fahy also scored an important and very well-worked try. Aaron worked his line well and his kicking from hand was good. He is growing into the game and its pace. Again this week the centre paining worked well together, with Ryano playing a key part in that try of Richie’s as indeed did star winger Hugo. Hugo contributes so much to a game and is secure under all forms of bombardment. Max is another who is growing into the pace and tenor of the senior game. To have Mark back also gave an extra zip. He hammers into the line with the ball and relishes the battle.
The replacements also all made an important contribution, as rugby shows itself more and more now as a 15+ game.
2 Mins, penalty Conor Hickey, 0-3. 12 minutes pen, Armagh 3-3. 32 mins pen, Conor 3-6. 40 min break-away try 10-6. 42 min Hugo runs back ball, switches to Ryano he swerves in and delvers to Richie Fahy, he scorches in under the posts. 10-13 Half Time.
2nd half. 60 minutes Armagh try 23-13. 74 min pen, corner lineout , maul Richie Halpin try. 23-20.Final Score.
On 25 March UCC come up from Cork and we need all to be there to cheer on this exciting and brave team.
Remember 25 March, come along and Roar on Ronan.
Team (12 rolling changes)
15 M Fogarty, 14 H Conway, 13 C Hickey, 12 R O’Loughlin,11 M Svejdar, 10 A O’Neill, 9 R Fahy, 8 R Watters (Capt.), 7 E Baxter, 6 N Hurley, 5 D Leane, 4 P Starrett, 3 M McCormack, 2 R Halpin,1 A Mulvihill. Dan Lyons, T O’Reilly, I Wickham, A McEvoy, E Carey, J Reidy Walsh. R Shields