Reigning Under-21 Inter-provincial champions Ulster were left stumped by a rampant Leinster on Friday night as the home side ran out easy 37-6 winners at Donnybrook.
UNDER-21 INTERPROVINCIAL: Friday, September 9
Leinster U-21 37 Ulster U-21 6, Donnybrook
Scorers: Leinster: Tries: Conor Donohue, Kevin Barden, Devon Toner, Cian Culleton, Fionn Carr; Cons: Jonathan Sexton 2, Fergus McFadden; Pen: Sexton; Drop: Sexton
Ulster: Pens: Rory Drysdale 2
St Mary's fly-half Jonathan Sexton turned in a stellar performance in difficult conditions as Leinster got their Inter-pro challenge back on track ahead of next week's visit to Munster.
Sexton got Leinster, who were surprising losers to a charged-up Connacht last week, off to a solid start, kicking a third-minute drop goal and a subsequent penalty.
Leinster's speedy backs were having a lot of joy in possession and the visitors found themselves 20-0 down after 26 minutes. Centre Conor Donohue and winger Kevin Barden both touched down, with Barden's effort set up by a Sexton crossfield kick.
Both tries were converted by the on-form Sexton and the result seemed in little doubt. Towering Lansdowne lock Devon Toner added a third try before the half-time whistle for a 25-3 Leinster lead.
Full-back Rory Drysdale had landed Ulster's only points of the first half from a penalty and he repeated the trick after the restart when Ulster gained a bigger slice of possession.
Leinster played a tighter game in the second half but the tries eventually came. Replacement hooker Cian Culleton mauled over and in the final minute, Blackrock full-back Fionn Carr went over under the posts to allow Fergus McFadden kick the closing conversion.
LEINSTER U-21: F Carr (Blackrock); K Barden (Old Belvedere), F McFadden (UCD), C Donohue (Dublin Uni), S Hanratty (Dublin Uni); J Sexton (St Mary's), M D'Arcy (Dublin Uni); K O'Neill (Dublin Uni), G O'Meara (Lansdowne), P Doran-Jones (Dublin Uni), D O'Reilly (Dublin Uni), D Toner (Lansdowne), L Mantle (Greystones), D Laffan (Dublin Uni) (Capt), S O'Brien (UCD).
Replacements used: S Mullane (Greystones) for Mantle (half-time), C Culleton (Dublin Uni) for O'Meara (60 mins), D Coughlan (Lansdowne) for D'Arcy (66), K Maloney (Blackrock) for Doran-Jones, A Geraghty (Lansdowne) for Sexton, C O'Sullivan (Greystones) for Hanratty, P Burns (Wanderers) for O'Reilly (all 74).
ULSTER U-21: R Drysdale (Ballymena); D Black (Dungannon), M Scott (Ballynahinch), J McGrugan (Ballymena), R Fegan (Malone); J Watt (Dublin Uni), J Burns (Dublin Uni); G Murphy (Dublin Uni), S Philpott (Harlequins), G Mitchell (Instonians), N Magee (Omagh), T Anderson (QUB), D Pollock (QUB) (Capt), William Falloon (Ballynahinch), S Ferris (Belfast Harlequins).
Replacements used: C Knipe (Dungannon) for Philpott, A Saunderson (Ballyclare) for Ferris, J Shiells (Dungannon) for Watt (all 55 mins), M Suiter (Cooke) for Fegan, A Bartholomew (QUB) for Burns, D Cobain (Malone) for Magee (all 74).
Referee: T Collins (Munster)
U-21 Inter-provincial Championship Fixtures:
Friday September 16: Munster U-21 v Leinster U-21, Thomond Park, 7.00pm; Saturday, September, 17: Ulster U-21 v Connacht U-21, Ravenhill, 1.00pm
Saturday September 24: Series Play-Offs, Dubarry Park, Buccaneers RFC