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O’Connor Kicks Ravens To Navan Win

O’Connor Kicks Ravens To Navan Win

Three penalties from out-half Niall O’Connor gave the Ulster Ravens a 9-0 victory over Leinster ‘A’ at a windswept Navan RFC on Thursday evening.

‘A’ INTERPROVINCIAL MATCH: Thursday, February 4


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Scorers: Leinster ‘A’: –
Ulster Ravens: Pens: Niall O’Connor 3

A second minute attempted drop goal from Leinster ‘A’ out-half Ian Madigan sailed inches wide as the hosts dominated the early play and flanker Eoin Sheriff looked particularly dangerous with ball in hand in wintry conditions at the Meath venue.

With both sides struggling to assert themselves, Madigan’s second effort at goal – a 14th minute penalty – fell wide and narrowly failed to break the deadlock, while another effort two minutes later near the touchline and again in the face of a wild gale, this time struck the upright.

Ulster Ravens rallied and some swift interplay from scrum half Ian Porter found his half-back partner Niall O’Connor but he failed to gather the pass inside the Leinster 22 when the try-line beckoned.

The Ravens pressed and were eventually rewarded with a penalty from the boot of O’Connor on the half hour mark to give them a 3-0 lead which they maintained into the half-time interval.

Though Leinster ‘A’ began the second half with great intent, the Ulster outfit doubled their advantage with O’Connor’s second penalty of the evening in front of the posts in the 48th minute.

A Trevor Hogan surge past the halfway line instigated a spell of home pressure but it was the composed O’Connor who capped off some more good work with his third successful kick to give the Ravens a 9-0 lead.

In the closing minutes, Chris Keane, Stephen Keogh and the industrious Eoin O’Malley each separately came close to scoring the game’s opening try for the hosts.

But it was too little, too late as the Ravens, despite losing Ian Whitten to a 79th minute yellow card, quelled the pressure to seize a morale-boosting win ahead of next Friday’s British & Irish Cup trip to Llanelli.

Leinster ‘A’ also resume their British & Irish Cup campaign next weekend, travelling to Sandy Park to face Exeter Chiefs.

LEINSTER ‘A’: Niall Morris; David Kearney, Eoin O’Malley, Kyle Tonetti, Simon Keogh; Ian Madigan, David Moore; Arthur Lyons, Richardt Strauss, Ben Barclay, Ciaran Ruddock, Trevor Hogan, Eoin Sheriff, Paul Ryan, Stephen Keogh (capt).

Replacements used: Martin Moore for Barclay (49 mins), Jason Harris-Wright for Strauss (56), Chris Keane for Moore (66), Jordi Murphy for Ruddock (68), Shane Monahan for Morris, Michael Keating for Simon Keogh (both 69). Not used: Colm Mallon

ULSTER RAVENS: Mark McCrea; Craig Gilroy, Michael Allen, Ian Whitten, Tommy Seymour; Niall O’Connor, Ian Porter; Paddy McAllister, Andy Kyriacou (capt), Adam Macklin, Scott La Valla, Neil McComb, Ali Birch, Willie Faloon, Thomas Anderson.

Replacements used: Cillian Willis for Porter (50 mins), Declan Fitzpatrick for McAllister (54), Jamie Smith for Allen (63), Ashley Finlay for Gilroy (66). Not used: Bryan Young, Andrew Linton, Stephen Mulholland.

Referee: Paul Haycock (IRFU)