Rainey seconds were the visitors to the palace grounds on Saturday for a towns cup fixture on a cold but sunny afternoon.
In the previous friendly game played in October Rainey were quick off the mark to take a quick 10-0 lead and on Saturday they did the same, scoring off a catch and drive from a lineout after 2 minutes, 5-0 to Rainey.
With halfbacks David Spratt and Robbie Magowan dictating play and after hard won ball by the forwards, Armagh found themselves in the visitors 22.
After a period of sustained pressure, Brian Bassett with the help of his forwards crashed over for a try to the right of the posts.
The conversion by Andrew Knipe was successful and Armagh took the lead 7 points to 5. Rainey scored another try shortly after which was converted to regain the lead, 12 -7.
Just before half time a Rainey prop was red carded for foul play which allowed Armagh to get the upper hand in the forward exchanges.
Armagh’s front row of Andrew Morton, Gareth Warnock and John Fletcher dominated in the scrums with the back row of Clarke, Allen and McNeice always in the thick of the action.
In the second half, Magowan cut through the Rainey backs from 35 metres to touch down under the posts for a converted try, 14-12 to Armagh. Rainey’s response was lively and involved a period of play which kept Armagh confined to their own half for some time.
Good back play from John McDonagh, Robert Straghan and Andrew Winder, brought Armagh back into the opposition 22.
On 64 minutes from a scrum near the Rainey line, Captain Jonny Clarke picked and drove over for a converted try next to the posts, 21-12 to Armagh.
Rainey scored a late unconverted try just before the final whistle to leave the score at 21 – 17 to Armagh.
This was a fragmented performance from the city side with the set pieces not up to their usual standard.
However this can be rectified on the training field and the team now look forward to the draw for the next round on Tuesday.
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