Sports

Royal run riot in semi-final

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Royal run riot in semi-final thumbnailArmagh flanker King soars highest to secure some clean line-out ball during the second half of their Medallion Shield semi-final.

ROYAL School Armagh eased in to the final of the Medallion Shield on Saturday afternoon at the Dub Playing Fields and in doing so, created a little piece of history.

RS Armagh ...36
Bangor Grammar ...0

Armagh out-fought, out-battled and out-muscled their North Down rivals and they now move on to their first ever appearance in the Medallion Shield final against Friends' School on Tuesday, March 6 at the home of Ulster Rugby, the Kingspan Stadium.

Royal coach, Gareth Beggs, who has worked incredibly hard alongside fellow coach Simon Cardwell for two years with this age group, admitted it was a proud day for everyone involved in rugby at the school.

“Our boys were massively mature about the entire occasion and they played rugby in the right parts of the pitch.

“Charlie Worth, our scrum-half, box-kicked us in to good positions and we played off that.

“The two words I would use for that performance are mature and professional.

“Yes we probably went in to the game as favourites, but we still had to come out and perform and we are very very pleased!"

Beggs admits that his side aren't going in to the final to just make up the numbers, they are going to the Kingspan to win.

“It is a little piece of history for us. We are the first team from the Royal to make the Medallion Shield final and for us it is just another game at the moment.

“We will get our heads down again on Monday and we look towards the final against Friends' next Tuesday."

The Cathedral City side played with the wind in the first half and scrum-half Charlie Worth was continually pinning the Bangor outfit inside their own '22' with some intelligent box-kicking.

Armagh's pressure finally paid off when after some excellent phases of play Ethan McAtarsney found himself with a two v one on the left hand side and he powered over to claim the opening score of the game.

The Armagh full-back dusted himself down and slotted over the conversion to give themselves a 7-0 lead.

Bangor were struggling to clear their lines and it was only a matter of time until the College Hill grabbed their second try.

The impressive Ryan Finlay burst away from a ruck and rumbled past a couple of attempted tackles to grab their second try of the game. McAtarsney failed to add the extras, but Armagh were clearly in the ascendancy.

It was all one way traffic and it wasn't long until Armagh had scored their third try.

Some good work by the pack saw Armagh drive towards the line and hooker Rolston was on hand to power over from close range to score wide out on the right. McAtarsney's conversion just dropped under the posts, but Armagh were 17-0 at half-time.

Armagh coaches Beggs and Cardwell will have been reiterating how important it was to look after the ball as they played in to the wind, but as the second half kicked off the strong wind blowing down the pitch seemed to drop and Armagh continued right from where they had left off in the early stages of the second half.

The Armagh backrow of Finlay, Irvine and King were all carrying the ball well and Worth and Morrow at scrum-half and out-half respectively were in complete control as they moved their team up the field.

Armagh's first foray in to the Bangor '22' saw the forwards punch a couple of holes in the Bangor defence, before Whiteside showed some clever footwork to cut back inside and dive over the line. McAtarsney was close again with the conversion but he failed to add the extras and Armagh were 22-0 in front.

At this stage Armagh began to make use of their strong bench and they all made an impression as the Orchard County outfit continued to control proceedings.

The fifth try of the morning was arguably the most impressive of the game. The Armagh pack carried the ball well into the Bangor '22' and a clever piece of handling from prop Rainey saw him pop the ball back inside to the onrushing Peter Taylor, who crashed over from close range.

McAtarsney popped over a fine conversion to make it 29-0.

With just seconds left Armagh showed absolutely no mercy on their North Down opponents as they carried the ball from right to left and from the third phase, King made a powerful burst towards the try-line and he bundled over from close range to score Armagh's sixth try. McAtarsney added the extras and the referee blew the final whistle as the Armagh support burst on to the pitch to celebrate with their team.

This was an impressive a display of rugby that you are likely to see in Medallion rugby, but Armagh will be well aware that they will be facing a formidable foe in Friends' School Lisburn, who knocked out Methodist College in the quarter-finals.

Kick off next Tuesday at the Kingspan Stadium is 2.30pm.

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