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Late Stafford Effort Hands Leinster ‘A’ The Spoils

Late Stafford Effort Hands Leinster ‘A’ The Spoils

An injury-time try from substitute Greg Stafford saw Leinster ‘A’ steal a 39-33 win from under the noses of Ulster ‘A’ at Navan RFC on Friday night.

Leinster hero Greg Stafford

An injury-time try from substitute Greg Stafford saw Leinster ‘A’ steal a 39-33 win from under the noses of Ulster ‘a” at Navan RFC on Friday night.

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‘A’ INTERPROVINCIAL: Friday, September 30

Leinster ‘A’ 39 Ulster ‘A’ 33, Navan RFC

Scorers: Leinster ‘A’: Tries: Niall Ronan, Kevin McLaughlin, Ross McCarron, Alex Dunlop, Greg Stafford; Cons: Eoghan Hickey 4; Pens: Hickey 2

Ulster ‘A’: Tries: Isaac Boss, Stephen Ferris, Scott Young, Jonny Bell, Penalty try; Cons: Gareth Steenson 4

Leinster centre Stafford touched down in the closing minutes after a searing Stephen Grissing run to crown the victory for the Gerry Murphy-managed home side.

Former New Zealand Under-19 scrum-half Isaac Boss, who is Irish-qualified, made his debut in an Ulster shirt and scored a first half try. But despite this and a telling contribution from Boss’s half-back partner Gareth Steenson, who converted four of Ulster’s five tries, Leinster won out.

Murphy said afterwards: It was a fantastic game from a spectators’ point of view in that it was very open. Both the Leinster and Ulster management teams would have learned a lot about their players.

It was an open attacking game with some mistakes but it was a very worthwhile outing.

UCD fly-half Eoghan Hickey kicked two penalties and converted both of Leinster’s first half tries from Niall Ronan and Kevin McLaughlin for a 20-14 half-time lead.

The nip-and-tuck nature of the game continued into the second half as a Ross McCarron try answered back an early penalty from the visitors.

32-33 down, Leinster mounted a late attack down the left flank that conjured up Stafford’s injury-time score. That was converted by the influential Hickey and a climatic end was brought to an enthralling ten-try encounter.

LEINSTER ‘A’: Ross McCarron; James Norton, Gary Brown, David McAllister, Brendan Burke; Eoghan Hickey, Brian O’Riordan; John Lyne, Conor Geoghegan, Emmett Byrne, Simon Crawford (Capt), Devin Toner, Cameron Jowitt, Niall Ronan, Kevin McLaughlin.

Replacements used: Stephen Grissing for Brown, Alex Dunlop for Ronan, Greg Stafford for Hickey, Nick Duffy for Byrne, N O’Meara for O’Riordan, Johnny Wickham for Lyne, Hickey for McAllister, Gavin O’Meara for Geoghegan.

ULSTER ‘A’: Scott Young; Paul McKenzie, Shane Stewart, Jonny Bell, Andrew Maxwell; Gareth Steenson, Isaac Boss; Gary Maxwell, Nigel Brady (Capt), Declan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Caldwell, Henry Head, Chris Henry, Oisin Hennessey, Stephen Ferris.

Replacements used: David Houston for Caldwell, Paul Marshall for Maxwell, Stuart Philpott for Boss, David Pollock for Steenson, Rod Moore for Brady, Glen Telford for Hennessey, Steenson for Bell.

Referee: Alan Lewis (IRFU)