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Junior Interpros: Opening Wins For Munster And Ulster

Junior Interpros: Opening Wins For Munster And Ulster

Munster and Ulster eeked out wins on the Guinness Junior Interprovincial championship’s opening day, with a late drop goal from John Lillis seeing Munster edge out Leinster in Cobh and Richard Finlay’s 15-point kicking haul proving crucial in Ulster’s win over Connacht in Westport.


– Saturday, April 28 – First Round Results –

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Connacht 8 Ulster 20, Westport RFC

Scorers: Connacht: Try: Mick Concar; Pen: Paul Cody
Ulster: Try: Nigel Hall; Pens: Richard Finlay 4; Drop: Richard Finlay

Munster 19 Leinster 16, Cobh Pirates RFC

Scorers: Munster: Try: Geoff O’Donoghue; Con: Eamon Ronan; Pens: Eamon Ronan 3; Drop: John Lillis
Leinster: Tries: Stephen McGee, Dave Hanlon; Pens: Mark Woods 2

At the Paddocks in Cobh, Munster got off to a flying start with hooker Geoff O’Donoghue over for a try for the hosts inside the first quarter-hour. Cobh’s own Eamon Ronan tagged on a conversion and two penalties for a 13-0 buffer.

Leinster, who included two new caps at this level, cut the arrears to 13-6 for half-time, with Ashbourne’s Mark Woods landing two penalties from distance.

Ronan pushed Munster ten points clear, just after the restart, with his third penalty of the afternoon, however Leinster’s pack soon got on top and some long periods of pressure resulted in Dave Hanlon of Tullamore and Dundalk’s Stephen McGee both touching dow for a 16-16 score linen.

Unfortunately for the visitors, both tries went unconverted and Leinster also missed a late penalty kick at goal. Munster regrouped quickly and made use of some late possession. Four minutes into injury-time, Thurles clubman Lillis won the game for the men in red with a sweetly-struck drop goal from 35 metres out.

Captained by Limavady hooker Ian Campbell, Ulster picked up a 20-8 victory over Connacht at the grounds of Westport RFC. A try from Monivea’s Mick Concar kept the westerners in the hunt, allied to Paul Cody from Castlebar chipping in with a penalty.

But in Enniskillen out-half Richard Finlay, Ulster had the match winner. Finlay kicked four penalties and a drop goal, adding to a try from Coleraine’s Nigel Hall, to guide Clive Bowles’ men to a galvanising win.

Next Saturday sees Ulster hosting Munster at Ballyclare RFC, while North Kildare RFC will be the venue for Leinster’s encounter with Connacht.