On a chilly Friday evening at the Kingspan Stadium, defending champions, City of Armagh, met Ballynahinch in the Senior Cup Final. It was a match which ebbed and flowed, with the lead changing hands on a number of occasions.
The game was minutes old, when following a midfield break Ballynahinch No 8, Conall Boomer, scored under the posts, Greg Hutley added the conversion to give Ballynahinch a 7 – 0 lead.
Report and pictures courtesy of Bob Given Photography
Armagh immediately countered, and following a cross kick Gerard Treanor scored midway out on the left. Cormac Fox’s conversion levelled the scores.
After a period of sustained pressure, Armagh took the lead when a penalty try was awarded, following a series of 5 metre scrums.
On 16 minutes, Ballynahinch countered with an unconverted try by Ross Adair, to close the score to 14 – 12.
A dominant Armagh scrum forced another penalty from Ballynahinch and Fox converted from the 22 to extend Armagh’s lead to 17 – 12.
Not to be outdone Hutley kicked a long range penalty for Ballynahinch to close the deficit, once again.
On the half time whistle George Pringle cut a fine line to score under the posts for Ballynahinch. Hutley added the points to give Ballynahinch a 22 – 17 half time lead.
Early pressure told for Ballynahinch, when Marcus Rea scrambled over, at the start of the second half, to score an unconverted try to increase their lead to 27 – 17.
Midway through the half, Armagh replied, when Andrew Willis scored a try, converted by Fox, after a break from deep, to close the gap to 27 – 24.
Ballynahinch seemed to have survived a period of sustained Armagh pressure, only for Armagh full back, Shea O’Brien to chip over the onrushing Ballynahinch defence, collect the ball and race in under the posts, from near the halfway line, for a solo try converted by Fox, to give Armagh a 31 – 27 lead.
In a frantic few minutes Adair scored a fine solo try for Ballynahinch, converted by Sean O’Hagan, to retake the lead 34 – 31.
Ballynahinch seemed to have done enough to secure victory, but in the last move of the game, Player of the Match, O’Brien, scored under the posts. Fox added the points to give Armagh a 38 – 34 victory and retain the Senior Cup.