Armagh seal junior double

SHEER determination and stout defending saw Armagh complete the Ulster junior domestic double last night when they added the Millar, McCall, Wylie Junior League Cup to the Powerade Towns' Cup.

They fully deserved the 19-12 win as they defied the elements and numerical second half disadvantage to see off a Clogher Valley lacking ideas and having played their cup final against Portadown a week earlier.

But Armagh did not get their hands on the trophy until after a grand stand finish by Clogher who scored a try six minutes from time to bring them within a score.

In spite of having lock Jamie Cornett red carded in the sixth minute for stamping, Armagh dominated the first half, taking the lead in the 16th minute through a pushover try for blindside loose, Alistair Birch.

Fullback, Johnny Steenson, who missed two penalties previously, converted to make it 7-0.

Clogher then found themselves down to 13 men when first, winger and captain Andy Breen and then player/coach and centre, Glen Kyle were sent to the sin-bin within four minutes of each other.

In between Stephen Bothwell missed a penalty for the Tyrone side, but they finished the half strongly only to be hit by a sucker blow one minute into the second half when Birch raced in for a superb Armagh try after good work by winger Phil McAllister. Steenson added the extras to double the lead to 14-0.

Fourteen minutes into the second half Clogher were handed a golden opportunity. Remarkably Armagh's Joe Clarke became the third man to go to the sin-bin and with the strong breeze and the massive numerical advantage, the Tyrone men struck on the hour mark with an unconverted pushover try for No 8, Barry John Wilson.

That should have been the signal for the Valley onslaught, instead, Armagh hit back within five minutes and substitute lock, Brian Bassett forced his way over for what was the decisive score.

With the direct route continually blocked, Clogher went up and over, with substitute John Armstrong gathering Bothwell's chip and chase to score a try.

Bothwell converted to leave Armagh sweating as they defended their line valiantly.

Armagh: J Steenson; S Lester, A Redpath, J Allen, P McAllister; C Black, R Mercer; B Patterson, J Johnston, M Hopps, J Cornett, D Martin, A Birch, J Clarke, J Morton (capt).

Replacements: R Morton, B Bassett, B McConnell, A Winder, S Sheppard.

Clogher Valley: W Lyons; A Breen (capt), G Kyle, PC Falconer, J McClure; S Bothwell, A Best; P Moore, R Stinson, G Andrews, C Robinson, D Sharkey, BJ Wilson, G Giles, R Wilson.

Replacements: H Richmond, J McFarland, D Speer, D Dunlop, R Bennett.