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About the Medallion Shield

What is the Medallion Shield?

The Medallion Shield is an annual rugby union competition involving schools affiliated to the Ulster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union. The competition is open to all schools within Ulster, but only schools from within Northern Ireland currently enter, with no entries from schools situated in the three Ulster counties within the Republic of Ireland.
The competition has been contested continuously since its inception in 1910 and, in that time, fourteen different schools have secured at least a shared win of the shield. Teams entering the Medallion Shield are composed of boys that are under 15 years of age at the start of the school year.

Foundation and growth

It was reported in 1909 that discussions had taken place between Belfast Royal Academy, Campbell College, Methodist College and Royal Belfast Academical Institution about setting up a rugby junior competition for pupils with an age qualification given as under fifteen years of age on 1 November. The success of the Leinster Schools Junior Cup which had started that year had prompted these discussions. Henry McIntosh, the Headmaster of Methodist College and respected rugby coach, was the main driving force behind the idea.
In 1910 Methodist College and Royal Belfast Academical Institution proceeded with the competition and for the first five years only these two schools competed. The third school to join was Royal School Dungannon in 1915. Bangor Grammar School entered for the first time in 1916, with Ballymena Academy and Coleraine Academical Institution following in 1917.
In 1977 the organising committee of Belfast Royal Academy, Methodist College Belfast, Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Royal School Dungannon ceded control of the competition to the Ulster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union.

Trophy

Initially without a trophy, a medal was presented to the winning captain at the conclusion of the second final in 1911. The original Medallion Shield was presented by the Governors of Methodist College with the medal mounted on the shield. When the original shield was filled with the names of winners, the Governors also provided a replacement shield. The original shield is on exhibit and can be viewed at the Methodist College Heritage Centre.

Venue of finals

All finals since 1973 had been played at Ravenhill. In 2014 the final was staged at the Queen's University Arena because of the ongoing development work at Ravenhill. Prior to 1973, the most commonly used venues were the North of Ireland grounds on the Ormeau Road in Belfast and the former Royal Belfast Academical Institution grounds at Orangefield, Belfast.

[Source: Wikipedia]