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Under-20 Interpros Set For Exciting Finish

Under-20 Interpros Set For Exciting Finish

The 2014/15 IRFU Under-20 Interprovincial Championship is set to go down to the wire next weekend, with unbeaten Ulster currently out in front and Leinster and Connacht – with one win apiece – snapping at their heels.


ROUND 2 – Friday, September 12/Saturday, September 13

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MUNSTER UNDER-20s 10 CONNACHT UNDER-20s 13, Thomond Park

Scorers: Munster: Try: Glen Stokes; Con: Gearoid Lyons; Pen: Gearoid Lyons
Connacht: Try: Oisin Leahy; Con: Aidan Moynihan; Pens: Conor Lowndes 2

ULSTER UNDER-20s 15 LEINSTER UNDER-20s 10, Kingspan Stadium

Scorers: Ulster: Tries: Sam Arnold 2; Con: Sean O’Hagan; Pen: Sean O’Hagan
Leinster: Try: Adam Leavy; Con: Joseph Carbery; Pen: Joseph Carbery

Round 1 Review

The Connacht Under-20s earned a memorable 13-10 victory over their Munster counterparts under the Thomond Park floodlights on Friday.

Munster, who lost to Leinster in Ashbourne in the first round, started poorly and trailed Connacht 7-3 at the break. However, Peter Malone’s youngsters made an excellent start to the second half and led 10-7 after Cork Constitution’s Glen Stokes scored their only try on 45 minutes.

Connacht refused to give in, however, and two Conor Lowndes penalties gave the Jimmy Duffy-coached westerners a deserved three-point win.

Duffy’s charges started well and twice had the Munster lineout under early pressure with excellent territorial kicking from out-half Aidan Moynihan and scrum half Lowndes.

Munster were struggling to string phases together but made their first inroads into the Connacht half when number 8 David St. Leger made a superb break down the blindside from a scrum. He found winger Greg O’Shea on the right flank but the ball was knocked forward in contact and the chance was gone.

Connacht scored the first try in the 14th minute with a well-worked back-line move as Ben Ridgeway and Dwayne Corcoran combined in the middle. Anthony McGivney showed great pace to take the defence on the outside before slipping a pass back inside for winger Oisín Leahy to score and Moynihan converted.

After that setback, Munster were stung into action and with the pack providing an excellent platform at scrum time, Gearoid Lyons kicked the first Munster points with a well-struck penalty from the left.

Lyons’ kicking from hand was exemplary with full-back Stephen Fitzgerald solid under the high ball but Connacht were on top at the breakdown and prevented Munster from building any momentum.

The hosts nearly made the breakthrough just before half-time when Will Leonard and Stephen McMahon combined in midfield but play was called back for a forward pass.

Malone’s side came out after the break eager to make up for a lacklustre first half performance and were rewarded within five minutes as second row Stokes touched down.

The try came from the first period of concerted pressure on the Connacht line. St. Leger initially made the break off another solid scrum with Stokes eventually diving over under the posts with the forwards central to the effort.

Lyons added the easy conversion to make it 10-7 to Munster who were now looking the better side. They were unable to turn the dominance into points, however, with the Connacht defence just about standing firm.

The westerners were in further trouble when tighthead prop Conan O’Donnell was sent to the sin-bin for consistent infringements in the scrum. But they weather the storm and made it 10-all on the hour mark thanks to a long range penalty from Lowndes.

The game was on a knife edge now but the pendulum soon swung Connacht’s way when Stokes was sent to the bin for an infringement at the breakdown in the 68th minute as Connacht returned to their full complement.

With just eight minutes remaining, Connacht retook the lead after Munster were pinged for not rolling away and Lowndes showed great composure to put his side back in front.

Lyons missed a very difficult penalty shortly afterwards and the visitors showed great discipline to keep Munster at bay and take the four points home.

MUNSTER U-20: Stephen Fitzgerald (Shannon) (capt); Greg O’Shea (Shannon), Paul Kiernan (UCC), Will Leonard (Shannon), Stephen McMahon (Garryowen); Gearoid Lyons (Young Munster), Jack Cullen (Shannon); Liam O’Connor (CBC Cork), Sean McNulty (UCD), Liam McMahon (Old Crescent), Frank Bradshaw-Ryan (Shannon), Glen Stokes (Cork Constitution), Conor Barry (UCC/Bandon), Luke O’Leary (Cork Constitution), David St. Leger (PBC Cork).

Replacements: Luke O’Halloran (St. Munchin’s College), Brendan Quinlan (Cork Constitution), Greg Roche (Cork Constitution), Aaron Hogan (UCC), Cormac Blake (Crescent College Comprehensive), Jason Higgins (CBC Cork), Tomas Quinlan (Cork Constitution), Ed O’Keeffe (Young Munster).

CONNACHT U-20: Anthony McGivney (NUIG); Joseph D’Arcy (Galwegians), Dwayne Corcoran (Corinthians), Ben Ridgeway (Galwegians), Oisin Leahy (NUIG); Aidan Moynihan (Galwegians), Conor Lowndes (Galwegians); Conor Kyne (Galwegians), Rory Litchfield (Galwegians), Conan O’Donnell (Sligo), Cian Romaine (Buccaneers), James Doyle (Galwegians) (capt), Marc Kelly (Corinthians), Alex Penny (NUIG), Stephen McVeigh (Buccaneers).

Replacements: John Healy (Westport), Conor Doyle (Buccaneers), Ryan O’Meara (Buccaneers), Roy Stanley (NUIG), Joshua Pim (Buccaneers), Ricky Dixon (Buccaneers), Andrew Shanahan (NUIG), Dylan Kelso (Buccaneers).

The Ulster Under-20s registered a hard-fought 15-10 triumph over Leinster at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday, meaning a win over Munster in Limerick next weekend will clinch the Interprovincial title.

The hosts enjoyed an excellent first 20 minutes, but were rewarded with just seven points when it could have been more.

A solid scrum gave the Ulster backs front-foot ball and they fully exploited – Sean O’Hagan found Conor McKee who broke the line before providing the scoring pass to his centre partner Sam Arnold. O’Hagan added the extras with a well struck kick.

Arnold almost scored again moments later when O’Hagan made an incisive break but after drawing the full-back, his pass was just behind his supporting team-mate.

Leinster responded when right winger Adam Leavy touched down after great work by out-half Joseph Carbery, who landed the difficult conversion to draw level.

O’Hagan’s penalty gave Ulster a 10-7 lead at half-time but Carbery cancelled it out with an effort of his own early in the second half.

Arnold grabbed his second try with 15 minutesleft to play after superb work by the Ulster forwards. Some big carries, particularly from captain Michael Lagan and second row Nigel Simpson, punched holes in the Leinster defence and Arnold was on hand to crash over the whitewash from a couple of metres out.

Jack Milligan – on the pitch after replacing O’Hagan – saw his conversion attempt rebound off the post.
The visitors pushed for a late match-winning score but Ulster defended resolutely to hold them out and seal their second win on the trot.

Allen Clarke and Kieran Campbell’s charges will now travel south in a bid to beat Munster next Friday night and become Inteprovincial champions.

ULSTER U-20: Jack Owens (Queen’s University); Adam Liddell (Malone), Sam Arnold (Ballynahinch), Conor McKee (Queen’s University), Jacob Stockdale (tbc); Sean O’Hagan (Queen’s University), Connor Young (Instonians); Michael Lagan (Ballymena) (capt), Zack McCall (Queen’s University), Angelo Marica (Belfast Harlequins), Tom Donnan (tbc), Nigel Simpson (Queen’s University), Callum Irvine (tbc), Josh Davidson (tbc), Lorcan Dow (Queen’s University).

Replacements: Andrew McGrath (tbc), Darryl Morton (Armagh), Dane Fitzpatrick (Ballynahinch), Caleb Montgomery (tbc), Ross Todd (tbc), Josh Fullerton (Belfast Harlequins), Jack Milligan (Dungannon), Michael Cartmill (Malone).

LEINSTER U-20: Cormac Brennan (Old Belvedere); Adam Leavy (UCD), Conor O’Brien (Mullingar), Fergal Cleary (Lansdowne), Robert Vallejo (New Ross); Joseph Carbery (UCD), Charlie Rock (Old Belvedere) (capt); Andrew Porter (St. Andrew’s College), Jack McKenna (Lansdowne), Jeremy Loughman (Blackrock College), David O’Connor (St. Mary’s College), Jack Dwan (Blackrock College), Josh Murphy (UCD), Conor Oliver (St. Mary’s College), Nick Timoney (St. Mary’s College).

Replacements: Jack Boland (Dublin University), Eric O’Sullivan (Templeogue College), Jonathan Phelan (UCD), Greg Jones (St. Andrew’s College), Neil Reilly (Clontarf), Tim Schmidt (Terenure College), Sean Kearns (St. Mary’s College), Cian O’Donoghue (Clongowes Wood).


Friday, September 19 –

MUNSTER U-20s v ULSTER U-20s, Dooradoyle, 7pm

Saturday, September 20 –

CONNACHT U-20s v LEINSTER U-20s, the Sportsground, 4pm