Larne GS 3 RS Armagh 10
The difficult conditions impacted on both teams but it was Royal School Armagh who adapted better and that was reflected in a narrow 10-3 success at Larne.
The first half saw Armagh control both possession and territory for long periods of time. However, they were somewhat naïve in their approach and this played into the hands of a resilient Larne defence with Barry McFaul, Adam Maguire, team captain Alistair Black and Matthew Magarel getting through a lot of work.
Larne were dogged any time they got possession and this doggedness was rewarded when Jonny Hyndman converted a penalty kick opportunity to give his team a 3-0 lead which they held at half-time.
The second half saw Armagh adapt their style of play to the conditions. The ball stayed closer to their pack and they started to take positive control of the possession they were getting.
A clever move on the short side of a ruck was finished off with an unconverted try from their industrious prop, Jack Chapman and a 5-3 lead.
Further good control of possession took Armagh deep into the Larne ‘22’. Once again the home defence proved to be dogged but there was little they could to prevent Archie McAlpine trundling over the whitewash following a series of ‘pick and go’ drives from the visiting pack for whom hooker, Matthew Kilic, put in a ‘man of the match’ performance. McAlpine touched down for an unconverted try to give his team a 10-3 lead.
Larne mounted a series of challenges on the Armagh line in the final few minutes and thought they might have had the opportunity to draw the game only for what looked like a Hyndman intercept try to be disallowed.
Royal School Armagh will now face Portora Royal School in the second round on Saturday, January 23.
Larne go into the Schools’ Trophy - for first and preliminary round losers - and have an interesting derby clash away to Carrickfergus Grammar.