City of Armagh have retained their First Trust Senior Cup title, thanks to a hard fought 9-7 win over Ballymena at Kingspan Stadium on Friday night.
In what was a repeat of last year’s decider when Armagh won their first Senior Cup title, it was Ballmymena who led for the majority of the game, but a late rally from Armagh clinched the win.
The Armagh men got off the scoreboard first, thanks to a Cormac Fox penalty on 11 minutes, following some good attacking pressure.
However, it was Ballymena who went in front at the interval. Off an attacking scrum on the 22, scrum-half Michael Stronge attacked the narrow side, drawing the last defender before releasing winger Jonny McMullan to score in the right corner. Tim Small then sent over an excellent touchline conversion.
Another Fox penalty midway through the second half brought the deficit back to just one point, and the Armagh men piled on the pressure for the remainder of the game.
Despite some resolute defending from Ballymena who worked heroically to deny Armagh a try, a 76th minute penalty was just reward for the Armagh pressure, and Fox made no mistake, even in very windy conditions.
76′ Cormac Fox send over his third penalty to edge @CityOfArmaghRFC in front. Will that be the winning score?!
ARM 9 BAL 7 pic.twitter.com/POxYwCPJ40
— Ulster Branch Rugby (@UlsterBranch) February 8, 2019
City of Armagh:
(15-9): Ryan Purvis, Andrew Willis, Christopher Colvin (Capt), Chris Cousens, Shea O’Brien, Cormac Fox, Harry Doyle;
(1-8): Paul Mullen, Andrew Smyth, Philip Fletcher, Joshua McKinley, Peter Starrett, James Hanna, Robert Whitten, Neil Faloon.
Replacements: Jonathan Morton, Oisin Kiernan, Nigel Simpson, Evin Crummie, John Pollock.
(15-9): Rodger McBurney, Jonny McMullan, Matthew Norris, Glenn James Baillie, Darrell Montgomery, Tim Small, Michael Stronge;
(1-8): Nacho Cladera, Andrew Ferguson, Christopher Cundell, David Whann, Connor Smyth, JJ McKee, Marcus Rea (Capt), James Gallagher.
Replacements: Jonny Spence, Josh Bill, James Taggart, Connor White, Dean Reynolds.
The First Trust Senior Cup Final was streamed live on the Ulster Rugby Facebook page, and the full stream of the game can be watched back below: