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Armagh close in on another crown by easing past Banbridge

 

By Ronnie Ingram

Armagh took a major step towards retaining the SONI Ulster Rugby Premiership with a bonus point victory over Banbridge.

Their 34-18 success means that, with one fixture remaining, they head the table with 20 points with Malone on 15, leaving Banbridge - like Ballynahinch and Ballymena - now out of contention.

Their final game is against Malone at Gibson Park, where the hosts could clinch the title but would need to gain five points and deprive Armagh of any. Banbridge have 11 points and their final outing is at home to City of Derry.

It was an exciting game at Palace Grounds, where there was little between the teams in the first period with Armagh taking a 15-13 interval advantage.

Bann were caught on the hop with the first try when full-back Timmy McNiece managed to cross in the corner for Cormac Fox to add the difficult conversion.

Later, No.8 Neil Faloon dashed in for a spectacular try. Their other scorers were Andrew Smyth, Andrew Willis and John Faloon for Fox to convert a total of three and kick a penalty.

Bann managed two tries from Johnny Little and Simon Lloyd, with Adam Doherty converting one and adding two penalties.

• ULSTER A warmed up for their British and Irish Cup quarter-final with a 24-19 friendly win over Munster A at Banbridge Academy.

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