Sport Rugby

Thursday 22 February 2018

O'Connor seals Derry triumph

City of Derry 19

Armagh 17

Winger Mark O'Connor was the hero for City of Derry when he levelled this AIB Junior Cup final with a try in the fifth minute of stoppage time -- and then landed a touchline conversion to win the title.

Armagh seemed poised for victory at Dubarry Park in Athlone when winger Matthew Irwin crossed for a try after 57 minutes and as the game slipped into stoppage-time they held on to a 17-12 lead.

But City of Derry staged one final rally and replacement hooker Jason Mitchell whipped a pass wide for O'Connor to burst through and go over the try line at the right corner.

That tied the match and extra-time seemed inevitable but O'Connor, who had only landed two from four kicks prior to that, kept his nerve to steer the ball between the posts from the touchline to seal a first-ever crown.

City of Derry led 12-9 at the break thanks to tries from Andrew Semple after five minutes and a converted effort from Richard McCarter 10 minutes from the break.

Armagh enjoyed plenty of possession but had to be content with three penalties from Adam Going, who landed a fourth following Irwin's touchdown.

Scorers -- City of Derry: Semple, McCarter try each, O'Connor try, 2 cons. Armagh: Irwin try, Going 4 pens.

City of Derry: P Henderson; M O'Connor, D Funston, J Bennett, R Moore; R McCarter, A Semple; D Witherow, S McAuley (J Mitchell, 77), S Duffy; D Houston, B McKillop (P Brady, 71); K Gemmell, S Corr, M Walker (S Simms, 77).

Armagh: J Steenson; J Allen, L Manu, P Elliott, M Irwin; A Gowing, M Wright; B Patterson, J Johnston (R Merser, 80), M Hopps; P Hill, J Morton; J Clarke, T Clarke (D Martin, 76), A Hughes.

Refeee: D Phillips (IRFU).

Sunday Independent

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