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BOI Senior Cup 18th January 2020
Scorers: Magrath(1*Try), Donaghy(1*Try), Connolly(1*Conv, 2*Pen)
Photos
 
Bank of Ireland Senior Cup holders City of Armagh will be going for three-in-a-row when they face Ballynahinch in the final on March 6.  While the Co.Down men were accounting for Dungannon 30-21 at Ballymacarn Park, Armagh hit form in the third quarter at Hatrick Park to pull clear of a depleted Rainey side which kept battling to the end, to finish up 28-18 losers of a tie which was always entertaining.
 
For a variety of reasons, it was a strange looking Rainey side that took the field.  Four key members of the pack were unavailable, while a few others were short of game time.  They enjoyed some good spells and contested well, but made a couple of costly mistakes and struggled badly in the lineout when Armagh turned the screw.

 

The AIL 1B visitors made the running in the opening minutes with their threequarters moving the ball with great confidence, but it was Rainey who scored first after 13 minutes.  Magrath found a great touch for the pack to edge forward, before livewire hooker Roberts broke with support deep into enemy territory.  Several phases later, the ball was moved out left for out-half Magrath to step inside and cross for his seventh try of the season and join half-back partner Bloomfield on that mark.  Connolly converted.

 
Second-row McElroy, a newcomer to the game this season, was showing up well as Rainey gave as good as they got, until Armagh out-half Cormac Fox got his side off the mark after 22 minutes when Rainey were pinged for pulling down a maul.  Connolly was on target again when No8 Bresland made an incisive little break, but two mistakes in quick succession proved to be very costly, allowing Fox to send hooker Morton in at the corner with a long pass.
 
Rainey then had a good spell, with a superb break out of a tight corner right up the centre of the field from Bloomfield the highlight of the day.  But in added time. a silly penalty, followed by dissent, allowed Fox to put Armagh 11-10 ahead at the break.
 
From the restart, Magrath found another great touch, but Armagh again managed to spoil Rainey lineout ball.  Centres McMurray and Fitzsimons combined to make ground with Roberts taking it on to enable Connolly to strike again, before a purple patch swung the issue in Armagh's favour.  The Rainey tackling was very sound, but, with the Armagh backs coming onto the ball at great pace, the inevitable tries from flanker Whitten and wing Willis duly arrived.  A penalty made it 28-11, but Rainey, to their credit, did not capitulate despite their lineout troubles.  Replacements McIntosh and Michaei McCusker led a revival which earned them a try on 70 minutes, winger Donaghy getting the touchdown.  Connolly's conversion attempt from the touchline struck an upright.
 
Clearly on top in the scrum now, Rainey somehow managed to lose out when another obvious chance came along, and a lovely break from Fitzsimons should have resulted with a try when he popped up a scoring pass to his support only ten yards out.
 
TEAM: M.O' Neill, N.Stirling, D.McMurray, C.Fitzsimons, M.Connolly, A.Magrath, J.Bloomfield, A.McSwiggan, B.Roberts, F.Quinn, J.McCusker, D.McElroy, A.Harbinson, A.Bratton, J.Bresland
REPLACEMENTS: K.Donaghy, A.Donaghy, M.McCusker, M.Caithness, J.McIntosh.