Bann overcome tricky cup test at the City Grounds

ARMAGH 20

BANBRIDGE 32

Banbridge negotiated their way safely through the first round of the Ulster Senior Challenge Cup, eventually overcoming the tricky challenge of a useful Armagh side at the City Grounds last Saturday.

Coach Daniel Soper was pleased, not just with the result, but also with the intensity his team showed in overturning a half-time deficit.

“That was quite a physical game”, he commented afterwards.

“Armagh really put it up to us and that’s great in terms of preparation for the All-Ireland League.”

Bann were behind 13-12 at the break and it was only in the final quarter of the game that they really started to impose themselves, with two late tries putting the seal on what was an improved if still far from total performance.

“We were poor at times getting out of our own third,” said Soper.

“Some of the options we took were poor and our kicking ill-directed. But on the positive side we scored five tries and were able to lift the intensity when it was needed.

“Last week against Instonians we created plenty of scoring chances but didn’t finish them off. This time we were much more clinical in the opposition ’22’.

“After our two defeats it was important to get the win to gain some confidence. We’re starting to get lots of competition for places, which is good heading to Cashel at the end of the month.

“Now we need to build on that against Ballynahinch on Wednesday and when we take on Armagh again next Saturday in the Ulster League.”

Stephen Irvine helped himself to two of Bann’s tries against Armagh with Shandon Scott, Andrew Morrison and Andrew Kirkwood grabbing one apiece. Scott’s two conversions and a penalty completed Bann’s tally.

Tonight’s game against Ballynahinch kicks off at 7.30pm and there will be added interest with the possibility of Bann lining out against two of their erstwhile team-mates, Jonny Murphy and Michael Cromie.