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Regional South 4th November 2017

Scorers: Campton(1*Try), Hall(1*Try), Ferson(1*Conv)

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Although conditions were perfect at the Palace Grounds as Armagh IV kicked off against Rainey III, the start by the Magherafelt men was far from being so.  On their first possession, out-half Hall's attempted chip over the defence was charged down and caught by an Armagh player who sprinted from halfway to score under the posts.  The conversion was good.  Five minutes later, they were 12-0 down when they proved unable to withstand an Armagh catch and drive from a 5m lineout.

 

Finally shaking off their lethargy, the Rainey men started to play.  The pack battered their way down field and won a scrum about 20 metres out. No8 McCrea drove first, then offloaded to the supporting Campton, who forced his way over despite the attentions of several Armagh defenders. The conversion went wide.

 

Armagh restarted and were immediately in trouble again when the ball failed to go 10m. From the resultant scrum, scrum-half Walker fed Hall, who sprinted from halfway, beating 4 defenders to score under the posts. Ferson converted to bring the sides level.

 

However, just as they seemed to be taking charge of the game, Rainey lost the talismanic McCrea to a hamstring injury. Although they continued to attack strongly through the forwards, they were too often guilty of spilling the ball in the tackle, thus handing the initiative back to the home side.  A great covering tackle by fullback Bell prevented a certain try, and Walker was unlucky to be stopped 10m short after a great, weaving 40 metre run.

 

The half ended with another try for Armagh when they won a turnover on their own 10m.  The attacker broke through, beating off several tacklers, before being stopped on the Rainey 22' by a another great tackle from Bell.  The Armagh support got there quickly and a couple of phases later they forced their way over for a 17-12 half time lead.

 

The second half was all Rainey, the home side barely managing to escape from their half.  But despite their efforts, Rainey just could not get the score they needed.  Walker broke from a lineout, but his chip ahead in the 22' was easily cleared. Trainor came close in the corner following a five metre line out, but the ball was stripped as he drove for the line. Some great carries by Francis & Hugh Mulholland made good yardage and McLaughlin and Beattie in the centre linked well on a couple of occasions.  With five minutes to go, Rainey were camped on the Armagh line, but despite winning repeated scrums and lineouts, they couldn't force their way over the whitewash, leaving Armagh to run out 17-12 winners.