A man-of-the-match performance from full-back Johnny Steenson helped Armagh secure the Millar McCall Wylie Ulster Junior League Cup title with a 12-3 victory over Limavady.
MILLAR MCCALL WYLIE CUP FINAL: Friday, April 23
ARMAGH 12 LIMAVADY 3, Ravenhill
Scorers: Armagh: Tries: Andrew Willis, Phil Mills; Con: Adam Gowing
Limavady: Pen: John Semple
Limavady hopes’ of lifting the Ulster Junior League Cup for the first time were dashed as pre-match favourites Armagh came out on top in an entertaining final at Ravenhill.
Ulster and Ireland hooker Rory Best was among the spectators as a late try from lock Phil Hill put the seal on Armagh’s win, which made up in some part for their AIB Junior Cup final defeat and second place finish in the Ulster Kukri Qualifying League.
Limavady missed two penalties after 3 and 24 minutes, with out-half John Semple narrowly off target on both occasions.
Armagh looked the more threatening side with ball in hand but their powerful runners, headed by full-back Johnny Steenson, were thwarted on a number of occasions by Limavady’s solid defence.
Armagh continued to press for an opening try, turning down a series of kickable penalties, and they got their reward when Steenson put winger Andrew Willis through to touch down on the half hour mark. Out-half Adam Gowing added the conversion.
Semple reacted well to dot down over the Limavady line as Gowing probed with a well-placed chip, but the start of the second half had further disappointment for the men from the North West as Semple missed a third penalty and a drop goal effort.
As the sides coughed up more mistakes, player-coach Glen Kyle introduced himself into the fray as Limavady looked to step it up a gear or two in the final quarter.
Limavady had a let-off when Armagh scrum half Matthew Wright knocked the ball out of play when chasing his own grubber kick. He had done the hard work and a try seemed certain.
Armagh’s lead was reduced with 15 minutes remaining when Semple landed a morale-boosting penalty for the underdogs.
However, four minutes from time, a bout of forward pressure in the Limavady 22 ended with the hard-working Hill grabbing the match-winning try.
After the game, Armagh captain James Morton accepted the trophy from the Ulster Branch’s Senior Vice President Nigel Hamilton.