Only two matches went ahead in a weather-affected round 9 of Ulster Bank League Division 2B, with Storm Desmond forcing the postponement of the City of Derry v Rainey Old Boys, Dungannon v Sunday’s Well and Highfield v MU Barnhall fixtures.
In the first of their back-to-back games with Seapoint, Armagh got the better of the division’s bottom side on a 9-0 scoreline with full-back Harry Boyd the only scorer in very wet and windy conditions at the Palace Grounds.
Seapoint had run league leaders City of Derry close the previous week, so they travelled north in quietly confident mood with a number of players returning from injury. Hosts Armagh also welcomed back centre Stuart Lester for his first senior appearance of the season, while John Faloon came in for the unavailable Andrew Willis on the wing.
Although Seapoint gained an early advantage at set piece time, wind-backed Armagh managed to steady themselves in the forward exchanges and two successful place-kicks from Boyd gave them a 6-0 lead by the midpoint of the first half.
Scoring opportunities were very limited for both sides, with handling errors regularly bringing attacks to a sudden halt. Trailing by just six points at the break, the Dubliners would have been priming themselves for a big second half push.
However, Armagh lifted their game, especially their pack, and a third penalty goal from Boyd came on the back of a couple of barnstorming runs from captain Neil Faloon and prop Daryl Morton.
Seapoint’s levels of frustrations increased as the home side managed to pin them back in their own half, with the Armagh defence preventing any breakouts and the visitors doing likewise as they thwarted a series of close range assaults on their try-line.
Armagh’s impressive ball retention in the worsening conditions saw them close out the victory, ahead of this Saturday’s rematch at Kilbogget Park where Seapoint have yet to win in this season’s league.
In the day’s other encounter, Greystones ran out convincing 36-8 bonus point winners over Bective Rangers in a one-sided Leinster derby at Dr. Hickey Park. ‘Stones took the opportunity to leapfrog above Armagh into third spot.
The Co. Wicklow side showed excellent ball retention and game management, leading 10-3 at half-time before outscoring Bective by four tries to one over the closing 40 minutes. The home backs had a very productive day with wingers Ferdia Kenny, Padraig Geoghegan and Jack Keating (a second half replacement) scoring four tries between them, while flanker Blake Hill bagged a brace and Barry Lynn struck three successful conversions in very windy conditions.
ROUND 9 RESULTS –
Armagh 9 Seapoint 0, Palace Grounds
City of Derry v Rainey Old Boys, Judge’s Road (match postponed due to unplayable pitch)
Dungannon v Sunday’s Well, Stevenson Park (match postponed due to unplayable pitch)
Greystones 36 Bective Rangers 8, Dr. Hickey Park
Highfield v MU Barnhall, Woodleigh Park (match postponed due to unplayable pitch)