independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Super Skerries put unbeaten Armagh to the sword in AIL

YOU WOULD travel a long way (and indeed still be travelling) and attend many a game to see a better try than the last of Skerries' three, finished by Kevin McGrath, that ended Armagh's unbeaten record at Holmpatrick on Saturday.

Those lucky enough to witness it will sing its praises for this and future seasons, even the visitors from Armagh who have many strings to their own bow. From the moment Rick O'Mahony took a pass from Chris Keane and made perhaps 10 metres in characteristically belligerent fashion in the centre of the pitch and over the half-way line, expectations rose. Then, from the ensuing ruck there followed three of the sweetest, most accurate spin passes one is likely to see in rugby. The scrum half found out half Conal Keane who in turn found his neighbour Marc Hewitt. He located the fleet-footed winger McGrath, with each of those passes enticing the receiver and bafflling the Armagh defender. With work to do McGrath outstripped the covering defenders and staccatoed his way past the pawing last-man tackle to score under the posts, making it a regulation conversion for Conal Keane which crucially put two scores between the teams. Yet for the first 20 minutes of this game Skerries had hardly touched the ball. The weight of the visiting team's attack had the seasiders holding on in defence desperately, and the mere three points Armagh earned from this period of sustained pressure must have galled them. Worse was to follow for the visitors when Skerries scored a try from a scrum on the five-metre line shortly after Armagh had lost a prop to the sin-bin. Speed and accuracy from the base of the scrum saw Ed Caraher in at the corner to bag his second try of the season.

The conversion was not bagged, but still the home side led into the half-time break 53. Skerries then added another try, scored by Mikey Sherlock, shortly after the restart, this one converted by out half Conal Keane. But a botched passing move by the home team backs on half-way and a series of grubber kicks saw City of Armagh winger Josh Morton win the race and crash over the Skerries line, with the conversion superbly slotted by out half Dylan Ferreira to leave Armagh trailing by just two points - 12-10. This mistake was obliterated by the McGrath score late in the game, however, while the appearance in the second half of Chris Wilkinson, Ross McAuley and David Hewitt was another pleasing sight for the home faithful. Skerries' next assignment is on December 1st away to second-placed Nenagh Ormond. SKERRIES: Mikey Sherlock; Ed Caraher, Marc Hewitt, Ross Dempsey, Kevin McGrath; Conal Keane, Chris Keane; Mark Nally, Chris Tonge, John Condron; Rick O'Mahony, Joe Glennon; Thomas O'Hare, Kevin O'Connell, David Lee. Replacements: Ross McCorry, David Hewitt, Ross McAuley, Eoin Dempsey, Chris Wilkinson.

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