MEDALLION SHIELD: Royal School Armagh in dreamland after beating Friends at Kingspan Stadium

Friends' Jack Harte tries to push forward
Friends' Jack Harte tries to push forward

Royal School Armagh had to survive an avalanche of pressure in the second half to claim their first ever Medallion Shield against Friends in a weather effected game at Kingspan Stadium.

The wintery conditions spoiled the game as a spectacle as the both sides struggled to hold onto the wet ball in open play and both lineouts didn’t function.

Armagh took the lead after two minutes, Friends kicked possession away centre Ross Taylor made a line break and he fed midfield partner Pete Taylor to go over in the corner for what proved to be the game’s only try with full back Ethan McAtarsney converting from a difficult angle.

Friends got their first points three minutes later when out half Ross Malone landed a penalty from in from of the posts.

Armagh had lock Kyle George sin binned on 17 minutes for deliberately killing the ball close to his own line.

Friends elected to take a scrum from the resulting penalty scrum half David Scott made a sniping break he fed Malone who changed the angle of attack before offloading to winger Fergus McEwan but he was held up close to the line.

Friends applied the pressure but couldn’t make their numerical advantage count.

The half ended with Armagh denied a second try, the forwards worked the ball through a number of phases in the 22 with No8 Richard Finlay having a few carries, the pack rumbled over the line but couldn’t ground it and the Royal School had to settle for a 7-3 lead at the interval.

McAtarsney extended Armagh’s lead three minutes after the restart with a long range penalty.

Friends were awarded a penalty for a high tackle on the 22 but Malone pushed his kick wide.

Malone cut the deficit to four points on 51 minutes when he was on target with a long range penalty from a tight angle on the Armagh 10 metre line.

Armagh had winger Josh McClure sin binned on 56 minutes, Friends went to touch with the penalty but McEwan knocked on.

Friends wasted another chance when they created an overlap on the left wing after a slick handling move but again McEwan couldn’t hold the pass.

Friends had one finally opportunity to snatch the game when they were awarded a penalty in injury time, Scott took a quick tap but ran into heavy traffic and Armagh were able to turn the ball over

RSA: E McAtarsney, J McClure, P Taylor, R Taylor, C Whiteside, R Morrow, C Worth, J McBride, C Rolston, S Rainey, K George, P Irvine, J Roberts, J King, R Finlay

Replacements: J Cunningham, A Willis, K Welch, B Nguyen, J Denley, J Allen, S Harrison, J Partidge

Friends: J Anderson, F McEwan, S Patterson, Jack Harte, S Scorer, R Malone, D Scott, R Shields, M Pringle, J Harte, B Greeenhill, E Terris, M Glass, S Le Seelleur, M Gillespie

Replacements: W Campbell, B Rowlatt McCormick, E McCarry, P McElhinney, R McGucken, B Topping, K Gormley, M Gilmour