BANN FIFTHS 5 ARMAGH FOURTHS 7
The newly resurrected Bann Fifths side kicked off their Ulster Regional League South season on Saturday but just failed to mark the occasion with a win.
The game featured two evenly matched sides, even if Bann had a distinct edge in maturity.
Armagh almost scored from the kick-off but full-back Russell Anderson made a try-saving tackle.
Both packs showed great commitment although the home side’s greater poundage enabled them to take two strikes against the head.
The visitors had another chance to take the lead but a penalty attempt drifted wide of the posts. Then Bann prop Kris Campbell got over the line after some good forward drives but he was held up. And with Alan Thompson’s penalty shot from in front of the posts also failing to find the target half-time arrived with both sides pointless.
Bann enjoyed majority possession after the interval but the Armagh defence was resolute and eventually the visitors broke out to score a converted try at the other end.
Resuming on the offensive Bann eventually had their reward in the form of an unconverted try from P J McNally. But despite their best efforts they were unable to breach the Armagh defence a second time as the visitors clung on to claim the points.
Bann’s back row unit of Nathan Martin, Matthew Bird and Kris Eadie played very well. Geoff Little made a welcome return to the game after a break but it was Sandy Heak who bridged the biggest gap, making his first appearance in a Bann shirt for 14 seasons.
Chris Nelmes is the new captain of the 5ths and it looks like he will form a strong centre partnership with new recruit Alan Mullen following the injury-enforced retirement of Jerry Ramsey, who is now one of the Team Managers alongside John MciIwaine and Brian Clinghan.