Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Campbell College 28-3 RS Armagh: Campbell’s class rises to the top

Jack Owens on form as Armagh are put to the sword

Blocked route: Campbell's Jack Owens pushes on through as Armagh's Matthew McSorley tries to prevent his progress. Presseye
Blocked route: Campbell's Jack Owens pushes on through as Armagh's Matthew McSorley tries to prevent his progress. Presseye
Held off: Campbell's Rory Butler drives on through despite pressure from Armagh's Luke Crozier. PRESSEYE
Held off: Campbell's Rory Butler drives on through despite pressure from Armagh's Luke Crozier. PRESSEYE

Jack Owens made his presence felt when his outstanding talents helped Campbell College into the quarter-finals.

His power and pace have been rewarded with representation on the Irish under-19s and Ulster under-20s and his influence and that of Connor McIlmurray, another player involved in his third Schools' Cup campaign, was immense.

Packed with talent, they had other representative players like Phil Wood, Aaron Haigh, Elliott Boyd, Cameron Stewart, Jack Howard, Daniel Kealey as well as Kieran McIlmurray in their squad.

Campbell had already defeated the courageous Armagh side 18-0 a short time ago so always started the game as favourites. Coached by former Irish International Brain Robinson, Gareth Fry and John McKinney the team has progressed as the season has gone on. Their results at the start of the season were far from encouraging but they now appear to have peaked at the right time and with either Methody or Inst being eliminated in the next round they could well be making a reappearance at Ravenhill where the wide pitch would give their formidable three-quarters the opportunity to show their merits.

Constructive work by the Campbell pack set up the first try when they drove to their opponents 22. Following a number of phases Seb Heinrich crashed over. Armagh then maintained possession and fought back and were duly rewarded with a Matthew Hooks penalty.

Matthew Hogg and Mervyn Brown did their best but there was no way through.

Campbell had gained the better of the forward exchanges and another surge led to Jack Barry-Glendinning scoring for Owens to again add the points.

Armagh were called upon to defend stoutly against the strong running of Owens who, along with Paddy Park, kicked intelligently.

As the game continued Campbell relied on their pack in the poor conditions and made ground with a number of pick and goes.

Barry-Glendinning exerted his strength to cross for his second try which Owens goaled to put the home side 21-3 ahead. With 10 minutes remaining a rolling maul pushed Armagh back and allowed Connor McIlmurray to dive over for the fourth converted try.

“We had the wind in our favour in the second half,” observed Fry. “We kept up our momentum and they may have been in our 22 only once or twice in that period but never really threatened our line.

“I thought Jack Owens contributed a lot as usual but flanker Aaron Haigh also showed up well and Robert Norwood in the second row was immense. Phil Wood was an excellent link at scrum-half but all the backs contributed to the victory.”

Another former Irish International Kenny Hooks, the Armagh coach was obviously disappointed.

“We didn't do ourselves justice. We were always chasing and they didn't allow us to play. On occasions we looked like scoring but there were too many unenforced errors whereas they were clinical.

“They had very workmanlike forwards and their backs had plenty of talent as Brian Robinson coaches them well.

“Our captain Neil Lutton played his part and the back row of James Johnston, James Irvine and Jonathan Morton tackled hard. I feel we held our own in the scrums but with home advantage and an earlier win they were confident from the start.”

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