Ulster were crowned IRFU Under-20 Interprovincial champions for 2014/15 after a 17-12 triumph away to Munster on Friday – their third win of the series. Meanwhile, Connacht and Leinster scored 14 tries in a free-flowing final encounter at the Sportsground.
2014/15 IRFU UNDER-20 INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP:
ROUND 3 – Friday, September 19/Saturday, September 20
MUNSTER UNDER-20s 12 ULSTER UNDER-20s 17, Dooradoyle
Scorers: Munster: Pens: Gearoid Lyons, Tomas Quinlan 3
Ulster: Tries: Adam Liddell 2; Cons: Jack Milligan 2; Pen: Jack Milligan
CONNACHT UNDER-20s 34 LEINSTER UNDER-20s 61, the Sportsground
Scorers: Connacht: Tries: Conor Lowndes 2, Alex Penny, Stephen McVeigh, Oisin Leahy; Cons: Conor Lowndes 3; Pen: Conor Lowndes
Leinster: Tries: Conor Oliver 3, Jeremy Loughman 2, Cian O’Donoghue 2, Charlie Rock, Josh Murphy; Cons: Joseph Carbery 8
Following home wins over Connacht (27-7) and Leinster (15-10), the Allen Clarke and Kieran Campbell-coached Ulster youngsters entered the game at Garryowen FC knowing that victory would earn them the Championship crown.
That was achieved thanks to a dominant first half display in which Malone winger Adam Liddell crossed for a brace of tries.
It was the hosts who opened the scoring through a Gearoid Lyons penalty but Liddell responded with a five-pointer and Jack Milligan added the extras. The Dungannon out-half then kicked a penalty to push his team 10-3 ahead.
Liddell touched down again just before the break after excellent work by Jacob Stockdale. Again, Milligan converted to bring the score to 17-3 at half-time.
Quinlan kicked three second half penalties to reduce the deficit to five points but Ulster had done enough in the first period to prevail.
Loosehead prop and captain Michael Lagan, who led his side through an unbeaten campaign, was presented with the trophy after the match by IRFU representative Declan Madden.
It is the second time in three seasons that Ulster have won the Interpro title with a hat-trick of wins, rewarding the hard work that is being put in by both players and coaches alike.
2012 winners Rory Scholes, John Andrew, Conor Joyce and Ireland international Stuart Olding have since come through to feature in the province’s senior squad, with Lagan and company now hoping to follow in their footsteps.
MUNSTER U-20: Stephen Fitzgerald (Shannon) (capt); Greg O’Shea (Shannon), JJ O’Neill (tbc), Will Leonard (Shannon), Stephen McMahon (Garryowen); Gearoid Lyons (Young Munster), Jack Cullen (Shannon); Liam O’Connor (tbc), 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 (tbc).
Replacements: Luke O’Halloran (tbc), Brendan Quinlan (Cork Constitution), Greg Roche (Cork Constitution), Aaron Hogan (UCC), Cormac Blake (tbc), Jason Higgins (tbc), Tomas Quinlan (Cork Constitution), Ed O’Keeffe (Young Munster).
ULSTER U-20: Jack Owens (Queen’s University); Adam Liddell (Malone), Sam Arnold (Ballynahinch), Conor McKee (Queen’s University), Jacob Stockdale (tbc); Jack Milligan (Dungannon), Connor Young (Instonians); Michael Lagan (Ballymena) (capt), Zack McCall (Queen’s University), Angelo Marica (Ballynahinch), Tom Donnan (tbc), Nigel Simpson (Queen’s University); Callum Irvine (tbc), Ross Todd (Belfast Harlequins), Lorcan Dow (Queen’s University).
Replacements: Andrew McGrath (tbc), Darryl Morton (City of Armagh), Dane Fitzpatrick (Belfast Harlequins), Josh Davidson (tbc), Caleb Montgomery (tbc), Josh Fullerton (Belfast Harlequins), Josh Bingham (Malone), Michael Cartmill (Malone).
The Connacht and Leinster Under-20s played out a thrilling Galway contest on Saturday with the Blues notching nine tries in a runaway 61-34 victory.
Flanker Conor Oliver helped himself to a hat-trick at the Sportsground and Jeremy Loughman and Cian O’Donoghue both bagged braces for the visitors.
Connacht hit the ground running and they spread the ball and brought with it a ferocious tempo from the outset. Three minutes in, Galwegian hooker Rory Litchfield plundered his way through a gap and gave an offload to the onrushing Anthony McGivney.
A few phases later Connacht went in under the posts when Conor Lowndes spotted Stephen McVeigh in a mismatch before the back rower hammered his way over and gave Connacht the early lead that Lowndes converted.
Leinster were on the back foot but they came right back into the game with the very next attack.
Connacht’s Dwayne Corcoran threw a sloppy pass and Leinster capitalised to apply the pressure.
The quick clear-out resulted in some clean ball for scrum half Charlie Rock and he combined with Oliver who raced over unopposed.
Joseph Carbery made no mistake with the conversion and the teams were level after just seven minutes of play.
The bright opening continued as Connacht went back up into Leinster territory and eventually forced a penalty. Lowndes was calmness personified as he slotted over from wide out on the left as the young westerners regained a three-point advantage.
However, with the way this game was going, it was only a matter of time before Leinster replied and this came by way of an O’Donoghue try.
Cormac Brennan passed to Oliver who found O’Donoghue and the Clongowes winger finished in the corner to make it 12-10 before Carbery put four points between the sides.
However, Jimmy Duffy’s charges had no reply this time and in the 27th minute Leinster put a bit of daylight between the sides for the first time.
Blackrock tighthead prop Loughman started the move that he finished when he raced clear initially before being taken down by McGivney, but he was on hand when Josh Murphy (pictured above) was held up short and the front rower duly nabbed Leinster’s third five-pointer.
Carbery was once more immaculate with the boot and Leinster led 21-10 just before the half hour. The Blues got their fourth and Oliver’s second in the 36th minute when a misplaced pass found its way through Jack Dwan and David O’Connor, allowing Oliver to have the simplest of run-ins.
Leinster, who are coached by Wayne Mitchell and John Fogarty, were far superior at this stage and the gaps started to regularly appear in the Connacht rearguard. O’Donoghue was the next to profit, running in his second try after he latched onto a Robert Vallejo pass.
It was 35-10 when Carbery added the extras but there was sense of reprieve from the visitors as they launched another offensive that culminated in a Murphy and Oliver switch with the latter getting his third of the day to make it 42-10 after Carbery’s kick.
Carbery showed a chink in his armoury before the break when he received a yellow card after persistent fouling and Connacht got a try through Alex Penny but even after Lowndes conversion, Leinster led 42-17 at half-time.
The home side needed something at the start of the second 40 minutes and they ramped up the intensity in search of a try which duly arrived. A penalty was kicked to the corner and when the lineout looked over-thrown, the impressive Lowndes produced a moment of brilliance with a kick through that he finished himself.
Connacht now trailed 42-22, however Leinster reasserted their dominance and Loughman got his second try to give his side a 25-point lead with 50 minutes gone.
Again Connacht fought back and when they took a penalty on the Leinster 22, they rushed for the corner with Aidan Moynihan giving the pass to NUIG winger Oisin Leahy who crossed for his try.
The match was quickly entering the sensational category and Leinster scrum half and captain Rock added to this when he got a try in the 55th minute.
The replacements on both sides disrupted the flow of the game but Rock’s opposite number Lowndes kept his impressive day in check when he went over for his second score.
Leinster blindside Murphy got his name on the scoresheet in the 69th minute when he barrelled over and the game eventually petered out, with the visitors winning in the end by a 27-point margin.
CONNACHT U-20: Anthony McGivney (NUIG); Joseph D’Arcy (Galwegians), Dwayne Corcoran (Galwegians), Ben Ridgeway (Galwegians), Oisin Leahy (NUIG); Aidan Moynihan (Galwegians), Conor Lowndes (Galwegians); Conor Kyne (Galwegians), Rory Litchfield (Galwegians), Conan O’Donnell (Sligo), Cian Romaine (Bucacaneers), James Doyle (Galwegians) (capt), Marc Kelly (Corinthians), Alex Penny (NUIG), Stephen McVeigh (Buccaneers).
Replacements used: John Healy (Westport) for Litchfield (38 mins), Ciaran Gaffney (Galwegians) for D’Arcy, Conor Doyle (Buccaneers) for Kyne (both half-time), Cormac Nugent (Galwegians) for Penny (66), Roy Stanley (NUIG) for Kelly (67), Ricky Dixon (Buccaneers) for Corcoran, Dylan Kelso (Buccaneers) for Leahy, Ryan O’Meara (Buccaneers) for O’Donnell (all 69).
LEINSTER U-20: Robert Vallejo (New Ross); Adam Leavy (UCD), Cormac Brennan (Old Belvedere), Matthew Gilsenan (UCD), Cian O’Donoghue (Clongowes Wood); Joseph Carbery (UCD), Charlie Rock (Old Belvedere) (capt); Andrew Porter (St. Andrew’s College), Jack McKenna (Lansdowne), Jeremy Loughman (UCD), 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 used: Sean Kearns (St. Mary’s College) for Gilsenan (17 mins), Neil Reilly (Clontarf) for Oliver (48), Eric O’Sullivan (Templeogue College) for Porter (63), Andy Roche (Terenure College) for McKenna (65), Tim Schmidt (Terenure College) for Rock, Jonathan Phelan (UCD) for Loughman (both 69), James Nolan (Lansdowne) for O’Donoghue (72). Not used: Patrick Thornton (Terenure College).