Ulster Senior Cup final: City of Armagh beat Ballymena in thrilling decider to land first ever title
City of Armagh 17-13 Ballymena
City of Armagh have won their first ever First Trust Senior Cup in thrilling fashion.
A second half comeback turned the game on its head from 13-3 behind to earn a 17-13 victory.
Adding to their recent SONI Ulster Premiership title and promotion to Division 2A, it's the latest highlight in the club's rise.
Armagh sandwiched the first half with strong periods at the beginning at the end. Their first spell on the front foot ended fruitless and they were soon punished when Ballymena turned their territorial advantage into a lead on the board.
Callum Patterson had failed with his first kick for the posts but just a few minutes later, he second was directed perfectly through for 3-0.
Armagh got a deserved place on the scoreboard on 28 minutes as Cormac Fox converted a penalty of his own, much to the delight of a vociferous Armagh support.
The team looking for their first ever Senior Cup success could even have gone ahead before the break but narrowly failed to touch down. First of all Andrew Smyth came up just short and then John Faloon was superbly repelled on the recycle. As they moved the ball to the opposite side of the pitch, Timothy McNiece looked like he was in to score but the ball was knocked on at the vital moment.
The city side began the second period with 14 men as Robert Whitten was yellow carded for persistent infringements just before the half-time whistle.
Patterson put the match firmly in Ballymena's hands when he touched down and converted his own try after Glenn Baillie was stopped just short. He added a penalty five minutes later to open up a 10 point gap.
But when Adrian Hamilton was handed a yellow card for a late hit on Fox, Armagh crucially made the opponents pay.
A driving maul carried them over for their first try through Andrew Smyth and Fox converted. Thomas Campbell then touched down a second try right in the corner and Fox slotted through a top drawer conversion for 17-13.
Ballymena won a late penalty and found touch but a botched lineout and the win was Armagh's.
Here's the match as it happened:
Join Graham Jewhurst and Luke Marshall for live coverage of the First Trust Senior Men's Cup Final. Live stream brought to you by First Trust. Join the conversation in the comments below!Posted by Ulster Rugby Official on Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Belfast Telegraph Digital