RUGBY: City of Armagh lift First Trust Senior Cup for first time in club's history


By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 9:42 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 10:21 pm
Armagh score a try against Armagh
Armagh score a try against Armagh

City of Armagh have lifted the First Trust Ulster Senior Cup for the first time in the club's history.

A resilient display from the Orchard County side saw them come from 13-3 behind to score two tries in the final quater and take a memorable victory.

With a number of Ulster capped players in the Ballymena side the Eaton Park men were favourites to secure another Cup success.a

But Armagh, crowned SONI Ulster Senior Premiership League champions for the first time last season, played the better rugby on the night and although they trailed for most of the match.

Armagh made all the early running in a promising start but Ballymena were lto open the scoring on 19 minutes outhalf Glenn Baillie landing a penalty two minutes having earlier miss.

The game was level again on 30 minutes when Armagh outhalf Cormac Fox stroked over a penalty.

In the final minute of the first half Armagh llost Robert Whitten to the sin-bin for hands in the ruck, but it was not until 18 minutes into the second half that Ballymena extended their lead, having been left off the hook from Armagh pressure.

Armagh on the attack against Ballymena

Callum Patterson crossed for a try which he converted for a 10-3 advantage. He then added a penalty just after the hour mark and it was 13-3.

Ryan Purvis ignited the final when he made an amazing break from inside his own 22 and several phases later Armagh were attacking on the Ballymena '22'

Adrian Hamilton was sinbinned following an altercation and Armagh saw their opportunity. Hooker Andrew Smyth was driven over by the pack following a lineout and Fox converted.

Four minutes later scrumhalf Harry Doyle showed great enterprise to go over from close range after a scrum to put his side ahead for the first time. Fox made it three from three with the touchline kick and a 17-3 lead with nine minutes remaining.

Armagh on the attack against Ballymena

Ballymena pressed hard in the closing minutes which include six of added time, but a turnover at a lineout signalled the celebrations to begin for Armagh.