Armagh travelled to Hamilton Park to play Ards in the Ulster league knowing they needed a bonus point win to keep the pressure on league leaders Ballynahinch and after a clinical display emerged victorious by 27-0
Ards kicked off with the slight breeze behind them but were immediately put under pressure by the dominant Armagh pack and conceded an early penalty for going off their feet which was converted by out-half McGillen to give the visitors a 3pts lead after only 5mins.
Despite having a man yellow carded Armagh continued to dominate all aspects of the game and increased their lead when Ards were forced to collapse a driving Armagh maul on their own try-line leaving the referee no option but to award Armagh a penalty try.
McGillen’s conversion stretched Armagh’s lead to 10pts. Armagh scored their second try just before the break when from a driving line-out close to the home sides try-line the pack drove Ards over their own line with outstanding No 8 Falloon being credited with the score. McGillen’s successful conversion completed the first half scoring to leave Armagh 17pts to nil ahead at half time
The second half saw Armagh continue their dominance but resolute Ards defending kept Armagh scoreless until the hour mark when Armagh won quick turnover ball inside the Ards 22 and moving it swiftly to their right they outpaced the home defence for man of the match centre Lester to score in the corner.
The conversion was missed but Armagh continued to attack and the fourth and bonus point try duly arrived soon afterwards when following excellent work by forwards Hanna and Fletcher the ball was quickly re-cycled from under the Ards posts allowing Lester to crash over the line for his second try.
The conversion was again missed leaving the final score 27pts to nil in Armagh’s favour.
Head coach Andy Hughes was satisfied with his teams performance. The defence was excellent and in attack we showed patience and took our scores when the opportunities arrived.
This sets us up nicely for our vital all-Ireland league game in Tullamore next Saturday and then Ballynahinch at home the following Thursday night (7.45pm kick off) when hopefully a large crowd will turn out to support the boys in their final match of the season.