Clogher cruise to comfortable win
Clogher Valley 39; Armagh II 0;
Clogher Valley ran out comfortable winners over Armagh II in the Conference League at The Cran on Saturday, the home side racking up 39 points without reply.
It was a much changed Clogher side due to injuries and unavailability with youngsters Nathan Orr, Willie Stafford and Eugene McKenna introduced to the team while skipper Barry-John Wilson made a welcome return from injury.
Valley dominated the early exchanges but lacked the clinical finishing to trouble the scoreboard. However, Galbraith opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a penalty although while Armagh struggled to get out of their own half, Valley could not put together the necessary phases to cross the visitors line.
A powerful drive and off-load out of the tackle by McAleer should have led to a try by Sharkey but the pass was ruled forward. Galbraith doubled the Clogher advantage just before half time with another penalty.
The second half continued in a similar fashion with Valley dominating possession but unable to register points. Eventually McAleer made another surge into the Armagh 22 and found fellow prop Johnson Stafford on his shoulder. Stafford powered through some weak tackling to score a welcoming try at the posts which Galbraith converted to stretch the Valley lead to 13-0. The unfortunate McAleer was injured in the process and had to leave the pitch to join the growing list of non-combatants watching from the touch line. The Armagh scrum half also had to leave the action and the game was reduced to 14 a side with uncontested scrums.
The entire Valley team began to grow in confidence and started to create chances at will. Galbraith broke down the right touch-line.
The excellent Jimmy Bates switched play left and the equally influential David Sharkey sent Donaldson away on the left wing. His inside pass found young full back Paul Armstrong who made ground before sending the supporting Sharkey in for a well-worked try. Galbraith converted to extend Valley's advantage to 20-0.
Another Galbraith break sent Willie Stafford clear on the right. Armstrong and Mattie Robinson continued the move before Galbraith put Johnson Stafford in for his second try. Galbraith's conversion made the score 27-0 with 15 minutes remaining.
Valley were continuing to cut holes in the Armagh defence and Best made a searing break and passed to mobile second row Philip Greaves. He linked with Galbraith, Donaldson and Armstrong who was hauled down just short of the line. The youngster produced a deft back-handed off-load to Best who crossed for the try which was unconverted.
The experienced Andy Breen, who was having an excellent game in the centre, created the final try with a break in midfield.
He found Greaves in support on the Armagh ten metre line and he out-paced the covering Armagh defence to score under the posts. Galbraith's conversion was the final act of the game as the referee brought proceedings to an early conclusion.
It's back to league action on Saturday at The Cran with the visit of table-topping Ballymoney.
Selection for this game will be interesting with so many injuries to be assessed and the youngsters putting their hands up for inclusion.
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 20 Sep 12