City of Armagh came from behind to outscore Dublin University by three tries to two, winning 25-23 at the Palace Grounds to move into the top four of Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE MEN’S DIVISION 1A:
Saturday, November 4 –
CITY OF ARMAGH 25 DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 23, Palace Grounds
Scorers: City of Armagh: Tries: Shea O’Brien, Jonny Morton, Jack Treanor; Cons: Brayden Laing 2; Pens: Brayden Laing 2
Dublin University: Tries: Aaron Coleman, Oscar Cawley; Cons: Harry Colbert 2; Pens: Harry Colbert 3
HT: City of Armagh 8 Dublin University 13
A fast start from Tony Smeeth’s youngsters saw them take a 10-0 lead, buoyed by Aaron Coleman’s maul try. Ulster’s Shea O’Brien crossed for Armagh in response, while a last-minute penalty from Bradley Laing reduced the arrears to 13-8 by half-time.
A Jonny Morton try was cancelled out by a 10-point surge from Trinity who profited from yellow cards for O’Brien and James Crummie. Replacement scrum half Oscar Cawley touched down and Harry Colbert took his kicking haul to 13 points.
Ultimately it was not enough as Laing converted Jack Treanor’s 73rd-minute maul effort, and Armagh came through a nervy finish, watching Trinity out-half Colbert miss a last-gasp penalty from just inside the hosts’ half.
Winless in the first three rounds, captain Diarmuid McCormack ensured Dublin University retained possession from the kick-off. A well-struck second-minute penalty from the left-footed Colbert saw them quickly hit the front.
New Zealander Laing missed his first shot at the posts, and Charlie Beckett’s neat offload off the deck released James Dillon on a weaving run from halfway for the students. The ensuing pressure off successive penalties resulted in the game’s opening try.
Ten minutes in, a well-executed lineout drive propelled flanker Coleman over near the left corner. Colbert swung over the conversion for good measure, making it 10-0 with Armagh barely having had any impact on the game.
Crummie won a penalty at the breakdown to get Chris Parker’s men moving in the right direction. Possession was retained despite a Morton lineout throw going out the back, and O’Brien, playing with a penalty advantage, sped through a gap to score in the right corner.
Laing’s missed conversion from out wide was followed by a penalty miss from Colbert. It came on the back of an initial lineout steal by Anthony Ryan, and some punchy carries from Victor Allen, John Francis-Campbell and McCormack.
Armagh successfully disrupted Trinity’s next maul effort, with Cameron Doak and John Glasgow combining to win a penalty at the subsequent breakdown. The sides traded three-pointers as the opening half concluded with five points still in it.
Props Jerry Cahir and Thomas Connolly got the plaudits for a powerful Trinity scrum which yielded three points from Colbert, but tighthead Connolly’s high tackle allowed Laing to close the gap back to five, from just inside the visitors’ 22.
Introduced off the Armagh bench, Ulster Academy back rower James McNabney made an immediate impact early in the second period, carrying hard and also offloading to good effect.
Armagh hooker Morton’s rip in the tackle almost led to a try in the opposite right corner, but Louis McDonough, who got through a huge amount of defensive work for Smeeth’s charges, made sure his opposite number O’Brien did not score this time.
The home side did manage to go ahead just minutes later. Their captain Nigel Simpson forced a turnover penalty and won the close-in lineout, which saw Morton scramble his way over from the maul. Laing lofted over the conversion with a sweetly-struck kick.
However, O’Brien’s yellow for a high tackle on South African Allen invited Trinity forward. The students’ patience was tested with Colbert missing a penalty and winger Campbell was hauled down short amid a free-flowing attack which ended with Connolly knocking on.
A more central kick allowed Colbert to nudge them back in front at 16-15, and Beckett, Campbell and Allen were involved in a cracking break to quickly draw the Dublin city outfit back downfield.
Second row Crummie was binned for another high tackle, handing Trinity a lineout opportunity that they grasped with both hands. The maul accelerated towards the line and replacement scrum half Cawley grounded the ball for Colbert to convert.
Armagh hit back on the hour mark with Laing’s second successful penalty, bringing it back to a five-point game (23-18). Both teams were called back for forward passes as they pressed out wide, but definitely Armagh, with O’Brien back on the pitch, were looking more dangerous.
Armagh’s burly front row, with Doak now at loosehead alongside replacements Treanor and Paul Mullen, won a key scrum penalty in the Trinity 22. Another penalty followed before Treanor crashed over from a forwards drive, teeing up Laing to kick the all-important conversion.
Armagh were able to keep their opponents at arm’s length until the final few minutes. Trinity retained possession through some quick-fire phases, eventually earning a penalty but while the impressive Colbert had the distance, his kick fell the wrong side of the left hand post.
CITY OF ARMAGH: Sam Cunningham; Andrew Willis, Shea O’Brien, Matthew Hooks, Dylan Nelson; Brayden Laing, Lewis Finlay; Dylan Poyntz, Jonny Morton, Cameron Doak, John Glasgow, James Crummie, Nigel Simpson (capt), Barry Finn, Neil Faloon.
Replacements: Jack Treanor, Paul Mullen, James Anderson, James McNabney, Chris Colvin, Glen Faloon.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Charlie Beckett; James Dillon, Louis McDonough, Victor Allen, John-Francis Campbell; Harry Colbert, Cormac King; Jerry Cahir, Zach Baird, Thomas Connolly, Juan Beukes, Dan Barron, Anthony Ryan, Aaron Coleman, Diarmuid McCormack (capt).
Replacements: Conall Henchy, Cole Kelly, Jack Kearney, Kev Jackson, Oscar Cawley, Hugh O’Kennedy.