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The wait for an Ulster winner of the Bateman Cup continues as City of Armagh were defeated by Garryowen at St Mary’s Templeville Road.

The Ulster side put up a good fight with tries from Christopher Colvin, Andrew Willis and Shea O’Brien but Garryowen always kept the 1B side at an arm’s length and were in control throughout the afternoon.

They took the lead 16 minutes into the match. Brian Fitzgerald crossed in the corner after a two-on-one with Cronin (hooker) despite the best attempts of Robert Whitten. A second try followed five minutes and the class of Garryowen told. The speed of the ball from the ruck ensured the Armagh defence could not get organized leaving space on the outside for Dave McCarthy to go under the sticks.

Armagh received a lifeline seven minutes before the interval. Christopher Colvin intercepted a pass and raced in from halfway to bring his side back into the game. It was a score that Armagh deserved after pressure on the Garryowen line throughout the first half with attacking rugby and did cause the 1A side a few problems.

However the Munstermen ended the half on top through a penalty from Ben Healy before Jamie Heuston scored in the last play of the half to give Garryowen a 17 point lead at half time. Neil Cronin added his side’s fifth try seven minutes into the half as Garryowen began to turn the screw.

The game was sealed five minutes later through Liam Cronin. The hooker picked off a loose five metre lineout from Armagh to score but the Ulster side did not give up despite having two men sent to the sin bin. With 13 minutes left substitute, Andrew Willis crossed out wide. Garryowen returned to the Armagh 22 with Liam Cronin grabbing his second try.

Armagh’s Shea O’Brien leaves the Garryowen defence for dead on his way to Armagh’s third try of the day. Photo credit – Ken Redpath.

The men from the Orchard county weren’t done yet, as Shay O’Brien scored his side’s third try with five minutes left. Ultimately the division between the sides took its toll as Garryowen pulled away either side of the half. Armagh can be proud of their performance, playing some great rugby which will stand them in good stead ahead of their second season in 1B next year.

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