Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Armagh putting case for defence

Armagh Royal qualified for a semi-final berth against Methodist College and have yet to concede a point after two ties.

In the fourth round they eliminated Coleraine Inst 36-0 and on Saturday it was the turn of Bangor to suffer their onslaught.

The home team, playing their final Cup tie at Ballymac, were very physical and good in the set pieces.

They started well and made Armagh fight all the way but the visitors had too much power up front.

Alastair Wright kicked an early penalty before a concerted team effort led to the first try.

There was a lot of re-cycling before full back John McDonagh joined the line for Wright to convert.

Wright had a large part in the second try when he chipped through and winger Daniel Ewart won the touchdown to give the visitors a 15-0 interval advantage.

In the second half the trend continued with Armagh controlling most of the possession preventing Bangor from using their useful backs.

Wright kicked a second penalty before the final try came after a build up with many phases.

Tony McAlpine was the scorer for Wright to add the points.

Former Irish International Kenny Hooks was returning to his old school where he renewed acquaintances from the past.

"It was great to go back and meet friends that I hadn't seen for some time," said Hooks.

"I was given some 'stick' before the game but thankfully we were able to wipe the smiles off their faces at the end.

"They managed to starve us of possession on occasions and looked dangerous when their backs had the ball.

"I felt we should have had a couple more tries, especially in the second half when they were seldom out of their own territory, but they defended well."

David Graham, the Bangor coach, agreed that Armagh were the better team.

"We were outplayed in most facets of the game and their half-backs dictated the play," admitted Graham. "We had difficulty living with the intensity but have no complaints about the result.

"We have come a long way since our results at the start of the season and the players must be congratulated for their efforts, but on this occasion it was not our day. Michael Weir, flanker Matthew Stockton and centre Phil Harper all played well – it was a good team effort."

Armagh tight head prop John Dunne delivered a man of the match performance.

He may not have been on the scoresheet but his work rate in a powerful front row was exceptional.

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