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Champions Armagh defeated in opening game of SONI Premiership

Ballynahinch 24 City of Armagh 7

Saturday saw City of Armagh travel to Ballynahinch to play their opening game of the 2018-19 season.

This SONI Premiership fixture was played in near ideal conditions with Armagh playing into a stiffish breeze in the first half.

Both coaches were forced to make some selection choices due to the fact that this game fell on the first Saturday in September – known as Black Saturday!

Armagh opened the scoring early in the game as a strong break from the visiting backs sent club captain, Chris Colvin, over to score under the posts. Johnny Pollock’s conversion put the score to 0-7.

Ballynahinch responded by pinning the visitors inside their ’22’ forcing long periods of energy sapping defence.

Despite managing two ‘turnovers’ the home pack sent their flanker, Tom Martin, over for the first home try.
The conversion went wide but with the score at 5-7 the home side appeared the more composed team.

Late in the first half the Ballynahinch centre, Callum McLaughlin, suffered what appeared to be a nasty injury when he collides wit Armagh’s Winger Andrew Willis.

The Ballynahinch man appeared to suffer concussion and, unfortunately, spent the rest of the game on the home bench.

Armagh’s Shea O’Brien put in some great defensive tackles in his first game for Armagh first XV

Following the half time break the home pack were seen to dominate the line-outs repeatedly robbing the ball from the Armagh forwards and making good ground from these ‘steals’.

On the other hand the young visiting pack were more than able to hold their own in the set scrums.

The home captain, Aaron Cairns kicked through and scored under the Armagh posts early in the second half. The conversion was good to bring the score to 12-7.

Directly from the re-start Shea O’Brien was forced to make a try-saving tackle in front of his own posts. Eventually, however, the home team consolidated and a line-out error let the Ballynahinch winger through to
score a try at the posts.

Again the conversion from the home full back was on target to open the score out to 19-7.

Ballynahinch ended the game with a crucial bonus point try from tight head prop, Hamilton, The conversion went wide but the game ended with the score at 24-7.

It is never good to watch a player leave the field of play in the condition that Callum McLaughlin was seen to do. We, at Armagh, all wis him a speedy recovery to match fitness.

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