CITY OF ARMAGH 34 RAINEY OB 19
City of Armagh lifted the Nutty Krust Under-18 Floodlit Cup for the third year in a row with a hard fought win over Rainey Old Boys on Wednesday night at Chambers Park, Portadown.
In a quality advert for club youth rugby, the sides contested a tight affair and at one stage it looked as though Rainey may eventually get their hands on the trophy that has eluded them since the tournament took on the youth format.
This was the Magherafelt boys’ sixth final appearance since 2000 and once again they had to take the runners-up medals as late scores from Armagh saw them take the spoils on the competition’s 40th anniversary.
Armagh had scored over 160 points in the earlier two rounds, but they did not get it all their own way in the final against an equally determined Rainey side.
Rainey made the early running and Armagh had to defend stoutly before then taking the lead in the 10th minute with a lovely executed try when outhalf Brandon Gribben’s crossfield kick was slapped backwards by fullback Dillon Fox into the welcoming arms of centre Dylan Nelson. Gribben missed the conversion.
Eight minutes later Rainey edged in front with a neat backline switch movement which was finished off by fullback Cianan McCann and scrumhalf Cameron Young converted.
A spell of Armagh pressure was finished well by prop Tim Henry and although Gribben missed the conversion he finally found his kicking boots to goal a penalty on 30 minutes to give Armagh a 13-7 lead.
But it was Rainey who went in at the interval ahead when outhalf Kealan Friel converted lock Niall Corr’s try.
Four minutes into the second half Rainey increased their lead to 19-13 with an unconverted try through Eoghan McOscar.
And for a spell it looked as though Rainey could cause an upset. However, having doinated for a lengthy spell a turnover near the line saw Armagh exit and, in typical fashion, the error was finally punished with a try from Gribben, his converstion putting the holders into a 20-19 lead.
It sapped the reamining energy from Rainey and it was Armagh who finished the game strongest, scoring two further tries through winger William Coleman and centre Nelson, Gribben adding the extras on both occasions to confirm the win.
Aaron Whyte received the trophy from Brian Irwin, chairman of Irwin’s Bakery, tournament sponsors, while lock Sam Murray was selected as the man of the match from young Ulster player David Busby and Caleb Montgomery, who had both played in the competition previously.