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Resilient Armagh wave the flag for Ulster again


Losing effort: Malone ace Lewis Finlay in action
Losing effort: Malone ace Lewis Finlay in action

By Michael Sadlier

Four games involving Ulster clubs over the top two divisions and, well, just the one winner again.

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And as with the opening weekend it was City of Armagh who tasted victory while Ballynahinch, Malone and Banbridge all shipped heavy scores.

For Banbridge, though, who were turned over 42-28 at home, there was at least a try bonus to bring them their first point while Hinch and Malone got nothing from their assignments.

But what of Armagh? Eight points after two wins sees them in fourth and they did it the hard way at St Mary's College after coming back from being 14-3 in arrears to win 20-14.

The period either side of half-time was critical for Willie Faloon's players when Andrew Willis and Nigel Simpson scored tries which were converted by Cormac Fox.

With Fox then kicking a 67th-minute penalty it meant that Armagh put together 17 unanswered points to ensure the result and keep the club's start to the campaign in a healthy-looking place.

Banbridge looked down and out when they were 28-7 behind Highfield at Rifle Park but, from there, they began to put some points on the board.

Stevie Irvine's first-half try - Bann trailed 21-7 after 40 minutes - was added to by a penalty try and a touchdown from Ryan Hughes.

Though Bann were trailing 42-21 - Highfield scored six tries - Irvine's second was scored at the end which gleaned Bann that hard-earned point.

There was no such good fortune for Malone, who, after being swept aside on the first weekend at Highfield, were well and truly beaten out of the gate by Shannon at Gibson Park.

Chris Henry's squad lost out 32-13 and, as with Bann, they shipped six tries in the process to their Limerick visitors.

Shannon had their try bonus in the bag by half-time when Malone looked well out of it at 22-6 down.

The six points had come from the boot of Connor Spence and with Shannon pushing it to 32-6, Malone skipper Ross Todd's try was mere consolation.

Two games in, Malone are already bottom of the pile with no points.

In 1A, Hinch had a pretty bleak time after travelling all the way to Cork.

UCC were their opponents and it was a case of no contest really as the students prevailed by the rather cavernous margin of 39-6.

Hinch shipped seven tries to the students at the Mardyke, their only visits to the scoreboard being on two occasions when out-half Sean O'Hagan kicked penalties.

Brian McLaughlin's squad are now one off the basement.

Div 1A: UCC 39 Ballynahinch 6.

1B: Banbridge 28 Highfield 42, Malone 13 Shannon 32, St Mary's College 14 City of Armagh 20.

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