AIL RUGBY: Armagh hold on to deny Dungannon

Dungannon's captain, James McMahon.
Dungannon's captain, James McMahon.

Ulster Bank AIL Division 2B

Armagh 24, Dungannon 16

James Morton struck for a decisive try at the Palace Grounds on Saturday, as Armagh edged a competitive AIL Division 2B derby against Dungannon.

Dungannon Head Coach, Andy Hughes, was encouraged by a performance that pushed the title contenders to the pins of their collars.

In pleasant conditions Armagh’s Harvey Young atoned an earlier miss with a penalty for a 3-0 lead but with Michael Lawton featuring at full back Gannon responded in style.

Lawton made a searing break down the left. When Gannon recycled possession, they moved the point of attack right and looked certain to touch down but Matthew Montgomery couldn’t hold the final pass.

Shortly afterwards, Tianua Poto dived over the whitewash, but his celebrations were short lived as referee Ken Imbusch disallowed the try.

On 28 minutes, Poto goaled a penalty to level proceedings.

On the cusp of half time, Armagh registered the opening try against the run of play. James Hanna peeled away from a maul to dot down leaving Young with the simplest of conversions for a 10-3 advantage.

Dungannon were dealt a further blow as captain James McMahon was yellow carded forcing them to commence the second period a man short.

Poto knocked over a 50th minute penalty to reduce the deficit before Gannon took the time lead five minutes later with the try of the match.

McMahon returned to the field and combined with Armstrong. They carved open the home defence with a superb midfield incision that led to a Gerard Treanor try with Poto converting.

Armagh demonstrated just why they are challenging at the business end of the table on 60 minutes when Harry Doyle scored. Young converted for a 17-13 lead, but when Lawton slotted over a penalty it was set for a grandstand finale.

Gannon continued to probe but just when they looked set for a deserving losing bonus point Armagh ripped it away from them with Morton’s late try. Young converted to seal the win as Armagh remain hot on the heels of current leaders Greystones.