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Armagh and Rainey win play-offs and promotion

 

By Michael Sadlier

It ended well for both City of Armagh and Rainey Old Boys as both clubs triumphed in their respective play-off finals to secure promotion for next season's AIL.

Armagh beat Old Crescent 21-10 and gain entry to Division 2A while Rainey also made home advantage pay as they saw off Tullamore 35-23 and returned to Division 2B after spending just one season in the league's lowest tier.

Armagh took the lead after just 14 minutes with a penalty from Harvey Young and, from there, they never lost the lead on an emotional day at the Palace Grounds, which saw coaches Alex McCloy and Brian McLaughlin oversee the side for the final time before it is believed assistant coach Willie Faloon takes over.

They led 11-3 at the turnaround with their first try coming from Andrew Willis. Crescent then came back, but Armagh refused to wilt under the pressure with Willis crossing late on for his second and Cormac Fox converting.

And the game ended 21-10 allowing Armagh, led by skipper and former Ulster player Ali Birch, celebrate their promotion on what has been a special season at the Orchard County club.

At Hatrick Park, Rainey had to work hard to win their 'cup final' but managed to score six tries - two from Oisin Quinn - on their way to this memorable season-ender.

But, as Rainey coach John Andrews had expected, Tullamore were up for the challenge and even though Rainey had two of their tries early enough, the Leinster side battled back to tie the scores at 13-13 after half an hour.

The home side responded by scoring two more tries before half-time though they only led 25-20 at the break after another Tullamore comeback.

After that, two more tries, from Scott McClean and Jody McMurray, kept the Magherafelt men in front.

Belfast Telegraph

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