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Leinster ‘A’ Take The Spoils Against Ulster Ravens

Leinster ‘A’ Take The Spoils Against Ulster Ravens

Scoring seven tries in all, Leinster ‘A’ put in a fine all-round performance in defeating the Ulster Ravens 46-19 at Donnybrook on Friday evening.


LEINSTER ‘A’ 46 ULSTER RAVENS 19, Donnybrook

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Scorers: Leinster ‘A’: Tries: Andrew Conway, Darren Hudson 2, Jamie Hagan, Ciaran Ruddock 2, Andrew Boyle; Cons: Noel Reid 3, Cathal Marsh; Pen: Cathal Marsh
Ulster Ravens: Try: Chris Farrell; Con: James McKinney; Pens: Paddy Jackson 3, Ian Porter

Ulster Ravens out-half Paddy Jackson had the game’s first scoring opportunity after two minutes but his penalty attempt, five metres inside the Leinster half, fell wide of the posts.

Jackson made amends three minutes later with a three-pointer, following an offside infringement, to push the Ravens into a 3-0 lead.

Leinster ‘A’ rallied and a quick tap penalty from scrum half John Cooney led to a move which culminated in a Noel Reid penalty falling wide of the posts at the Wesley end of the ground.

Suddenly, the hosts’ tails were up and first skipper Dominic Ryan and then prop Jack McGrath applied pressure with some powerful drives.

Then in the 13th minute centre Colm O’Shea produced a fine solo break into the opposition 22. Leo Auva’a picked up possession out wide and found Andrew Conway on an overlap to race clear and score.

Reid’s conversion attempt struck the upright but Leinster ‘A’ had edged into a 5-3 nonetheless. A second Jackson penalty helped Gary Longwell’s side restore their lead by a single point in the 20th minute.

Steven Sykes gathered an Aaron Dundon lineout throw metres from the Ulster line but the attack was quelled and the visitors regrouped through scrum half Ian Porter, who was denied a try on the half hour mark by a strong covering tackle from Ciaran Ruddock.

With Jackson in the sin-bin, kicking duties were assumed by Porter who slotted home a penalty to make it 9-5, but almost instantly from the restart Darren Hudson benefitted from a powerful Conway burst to touch down – Reid’s fine conversion made it 12-9 to the hosts after 33 minutes.

A third penalty from Jackson levelled the sides as a well-contested first half drew to a close. But Leinster, clearly with the bit between their teeth, began the second half with great zeal.

Hooker Dundon made some positive inroads into the Ulster 22 before being held up as the try-line beckoned. In a separate move in the 50th minute, Brendan Macken sprinted down the touchline and linked up well with Cooney.

From the resulting scrum, number 8 Auva’a took off from the base of the scrum and linked with Cooney whose deft inside pass found Hudson and the winger burst through the Ulster midfield to touch down for his second try.

Reid’s conversion sailed over the posts at the Bective end to make it 19-12 to the hosts after 52 minutes and two minutes later powerful prop Jamie Hagan barged over from close in to extend Leinster’s advantage to 24-12.

A Niall Annett offside infringement led to Ulster’s second yellow card on the hour mark and Leinster ‘A’ replacement out-half Cathal Marsh landed a penalty put 15 points between the sides.

Then in the 65th minute, Colin McEntee’s men upped the ante with Ruddock getting his name on the scoresheet with Leinster’s fifth try of the evening, converted again by Reid, following an initial Auva’a break from a scrum.

Winger Andrew Boyle got in on the act with a well-worked try after some smart play by replacement Cillian Willis in the 72nd minute before young centre Chris Farrell added some gloss to the Ravens’ tally in the 78th minute, with replacement James McKinney converting.

However, Ruddock ensured Leinster ‘A’ had the final say on the scoreboard. He added his second try in the last minute of the game, which Marsh converted, to seal an encouraging win for the province’s second string.

LEINSTER ‘A’: Andrew Conway; Darren Hudson, Brendan Macken, Colm O’Shea, Andrew Boyle; Noel Reid, John Cooney; Jack McGrath, Aaron Dundon, Jamie Hagan, Steven Sykes, Mark Flanagan, Ciaran Ruddock, Dominic Ryan (capt), Leo Auva’a.

Replacements used: Daniel Riordan for Conway, Neilus Keogh for Flanagn (both 55 mins), Cathal Marsh for Reid (58-62 mins, blood sub; 75), Cillian Willis for Cooney, Jordi Murphy for Ryan (both 60), Jason Harris-Wright for Dundon, Martin Moore for Hagan (both 66), Jack O’Connell for McGrath (71).

ULSTER RAVENS: Ricky Andrew; Conor Gaston, Michael Allen, Chris Farrell, Chris Cochrane; Paddy Jackson, Ian Porter; Callum Black, Jonathan Burns, Adam Macklin, Iain Henderson, Neil McComb (capt), Conor Joyce, David McGuigan, Sean O’Connell.

Replacements used: Neil Faloon for McGuigan (7 mins), James Simpson for Henderson (38), Peter Nelson for Andrew, James McKinney for Jackson, Niall Annett for Burns (all half-time), Blane McIlroy for Porter (53), Kyle McCall for Black (70), Ryan Jablonski for Macklin (70).

Referee: Eanna O’Dowd (IRFU)