A converted try from winger Rob Jermyn proved decisive as Munster overcame defending champions Connacht on the opening night of action in the IRFU Under-20 Interprovincial Championship. Up at Ravenhill, Ulster got the better of a much fancied Leinster side on a 24-16 scoreline.
2012/13 IRFU UNDER-20 INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Friday, September 7
ROUND 1 –
MUNSTER U-20s 21 CONNACHT U-20s 14, Musgrave Park
Scorers: Munster U-20s: Tries: Darren Sweetnam, Rob Jermyn; Con: Brian Haugh; Pens: Brian Haugh 3
Connacht U-20s: Tries: Darragh Leader 2; Cons: Darragh Leader 2
The Munster Under-20s had to show their battling qualities when they lost a 14-point interval lead before striking back with an all-important try to beat title holders Connacht.
Indiscipline in the opening 12 minutes allowed Munster scrum half Brian Haugh kick three penalties for a 9-0 advantage for the hosts.
Connacht full-back Alex O’Meara was proving elusive with some dangerous runs and the young westerners had Munster on the back foot for long periods, but their pack opted to take the ball on instead of spreading it wide when in scoring positions.
Their out-half Darragh Leader was off target with a penalty effort after 25 minutes as Connacht remained without a score.
Five minutes before half-time, Munster scored a well-worked try which involved forwards and backs. Hooker Will Foley linked up with full-back Darren Sweetnam whose determination saw him reach the try-line to score in the corner, after he brilliantly checked his run to outfox the Connacht defence.
Connacht came out a determined side in the early stages of the second half and after sustained pressure in the Munster 22, Leader burst through the home defence to touch down under the posts and he also added the extras for a 14-7 scoreline after 45 minutes.
Play swung from end to end and in the 63rd minute out-half Leader made a darting run through the Munster defence to touch down again under the posts and his conversion brought Connacht level.
Fearing that the game was slipping away from them, Munster rallied and four minutes later they were back in front.
Right winger Rob Jermyn got in for a try after good work by Rory Scannell and Tom Kiersey and Haugh converted to reopen that seven-point gap for Greig Oliver’s Munster outfit.
Home skipper John Fitzgerald inspired his side with some fine bursts in the final quarter. A dangerous break by O’Meara came close to securing a third try for Connacht but good covering by Munster prevented the score and Oliver’s charges held on for an encouraging victory.
MUNSTER U-20s: Darren Sweetnam (Bandon Grammar); Rob Jermyn (Midleton), Harry McNulty (Dub University), Rory Scannell (Dolphin), Adrian Enright (Abbeyfeale); Tom Kiersey (Waterpark), Brian Haugh (Young Munster); Niall Horan (Crescent Comp), Will Foley (Dolphin), Brian Scott (UCC), Sean McCarthy (Shannon), John Madigan (Charleville), Jack O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians), Darren Ryan (Young Munster), John Fitzgerald (PBC) (capt).
Replacements used: Jamie Kind (Dolphin) for O’Donoghue, Dave O’Connell (UCC) for Madigan (both 61 mins), Dave Hartnett (PBC) for Horan (73), James McInerney (Garryowen) for Jermyn (74), Shane O’Leary (Young Munster) for Scannell (76).
CONNACHT U-20s: Alex O’Meara (Irish Exiles); Conor Fitzgibbon (Buccaneers), Mark Roche (Lansdowne), Ryan Casey (Naas), Phil O’Neill (UCD); Darragh Leader (Galwegians), Barry Digby (Buccaneers); Adam Boland (Lansdowne), Jason Connolly (Monivea), Jamie Dever (Corinthians); Sean O’Brien (Galwegians) (capt), Ultan Dillane (Corinthians); Aidan Connaughton (Buccaneers), Paul Maxwell (Buccaneers), James Connolly (IT Carlow).
Replacements used: Brian Teape (Buccaneers) for Dever (45 mins), Cathal Murtagh (Newbridge) for Connaughton (50), John Conroy (IT Carlow) for Connolly (54), Mick Mannion (IT Carlow) for Dillane (58), Conor Joyce (Westport) for O’Neill (71), Luke Satchwell (Buccaneers) for Digby (77), Niall Fitzgerald (Shannon) for Maxwell (79).
Referee: Richard Kerr (IRFU)
ULSTER U-20s 24 LEINSTER U-20s 16, Ravenhill
Scorers: Ulster U-20s: Tries: Rory Scholes, Ben Alexander; Con: Stuart Olding; Pens: Stuart Olding 4
Leinster U-20s: Try: David Shanahan; Con: David Shanahan; Pens: Tom Daly 3
A super-charged Ulster team defeated Leinster in a fiercely competitive Interprovincial Championship opener at Ravenhill on Friday night.
The visitors came into the game on the back of a narrow loss to the Leicester Academy the previous week and looked in good shape to get their campaign off to the right start.
But they were quickly knocked off their stride by Terry McMaster’s very determined home side dotted with players attempting to beat Leinster for the very first time.
Ireland Under-20 international Stuart Olding, playing at out-half, showed some of the skills that earned him a ticket on the plane to the IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa in June with a nerveless display of place-kicking.
He struck penalties in the fifth and 20th minutes, breaking even with Leinster centre Tom Daly to leave it 6-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Daly squeezed Leinster back in front in the 23rd minute only to suffer an injury shortly after which forced his withdrawal.
The Ulster back-line was boosted by the late inclusion of another Ireland U-20 international in centre Chris Farrell, who played in the RaboDirect PRO12 last weekend.
But it was full-back Rory Scholes who first pierced the Leinster defence for Olding to convert in the 28th minute, quickly following this with a penalty just before the interval for a 16-9 lead.
Scholes did well to support an initial burst from Farrell, angling his run to collect a well-timed pass and dart in by the posts.
Leinster had to respond in the third quarter, but yellow cards for winger Ryan Roopnarinesingh just before the break and centre Tom Farrell in the 60th minute hampered them.
They had enough ball, but not the wherewithal to turn it into points and the home side lifted to siege for Olding to strike his third penalty in the 66th minute.
From there, number 8 Ben Alexander burst over three minutes later – with replacement Mark Best providing the assist – to make the game safe for Ulster.
Leinster scrum half David Shanahan did provide some reward for his forwards’ hard graft by converting his own try five minutes from the end. It would have come as scant consolation for a highly-rated Leinster outfit, heavily favoured to capture the title.
ULSTER U-20s: Rory Scholes (Belfast Harlequins); Ross Adair (Sullivan US), Ryan Martin (Northumbria University), Chris Farrell (Dungannon), David Busby (Portadown College); Stuart Olding (Belfast Harlequins), John Creighton Malone); Jake Caulfield (Irish Exiles), John Andrew (Ballymena), Chris Taylor (Malone), John Donnan (Ballynahinch), Grant Bartley (Ballyclare HS), Conor Joyce (Malone), Matthew Clarke (RS Armagh), Ben Alexander (RBAI).
Replacements used: Matthew Rea (Ballymena Academy) for Bartley (42 mins), Mark Best (Campbell College) for Scholes (65), Sam McNabney (Ballymena Academy) for Taylor (67), Stuart Hooks (RS Armagh) for Clarke (77).
LEINSTER U-20s: Philip O’Dwyer (Cistercian Roscrea); Eoghan Quinn (Castleknock College), Tom Farrell (Castleknock College), Tom Daly (Lansdowne), Ryan Roopnarinesingh (Old Belvedere); Liam Burke (UCD), David Shanahan (Clontarf); Ed Byrne (UCD) (capt), Bryan Byrne (UCD), Dan O’Byrne (Clongowes Wood), Jerry Sexton (St Mary’s College RFC), Gavin Thornbury (Blackrock College), Dan Leavy (UCD), Josh van der Flier (UCD), Donagh Lawler (St. Michael’s College).
Replacements used: Rory Kavanagh (St. Michael’s College) for Daly (29 mins), Bobby Holland (St. Michael’s College) for Roopnarinesingh (53), Jamie Lawless (St. Michael’s College) for O’Byrne (63), Peadar Timmins (Clongowes Wood College) for Lawler (68), Connor Owende (Old Belvedere) for Sexton (77).
Referee: David Connolly (IRFU)
ROUND 2 FIXTURES –
Friday, September 14:
CONNACHT U-20s v ULSTER U-20s, Dubarry Park, 5pm
LEINSTER U-20s v MUNSTER U-20s, Donnybrook, 7pm