The Leinster Under-19s captured the Interprovincial crown thanks to a convincing six-try 38-7 victory over their Connacht counterparts at the Sportsground.
2014/15 IRFU UNDER-19 INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP:
ROUND 3 – Saturday, September 20
CONNACHT UNDER-19s 7 LEINSTER UNDER-19s 38, the Sportsground
Scorers: Connacht: Try: Ruairi Greene; Con: Charlie McMickan
Leinster: Tries: Vakh Abdaladze, James Ryan, Will Connors, Nick Peters, Hugo Keenan, Jake Howlett; Cons: Alan Hughes 4
MUNSTER UNDER-19s 3 ULSTER UNDER-19s 5, the Mardyke
Scorers: Munster: Pen: Paul Downes
Ulster: Try: Jonny Rosborough
A 19-10 win over Munster coupled with their 40-13 demolition of Ulster set up Hugh Hogan’s Leinster side for the Championship crown and they followed through with a comprehensive victory in Galway on Saturday.
Tries from Vakh Abdaladze, James Ryan, Will Connors, Nick Peters, Hugo Keenan and Jake Howlett did the trick, with full-back Alan Hughes contributing eight points from conversions.
The performance of number 8 Max Deegan was a particular highlight as the rangy St. Michael’s pupil was a real leader for Leinster and looks to have a huge career ahead of him.
In perfect conditions for rugby, Connacht began brightly but a few unforced errors in Leinster territory eased the pressure and the visitors moved up-field gradually.
The Blues soon began to find gaps and when Connacht strayed offside, Clongowes back Hughes found the corner with the penalty and the initial drive resulted in another indiscretion from Charlie Couper’s men.
Leinster did not settle for the points, however, and instead Deegan claimed the lineout, from here there looked to be only one outcome as Leinster drove Connacht back and captain Ryan peeled away to deceive the Connacht covering tackles and score the first try in the 12th minute.
Connacht came right back at them, some incessant pressure finally garnered an opening and Tom McHale combined with his half-back partner Charlie McMickan before Corinthians centre Ruairi Greene found himself in space and darted home to tie the game.
McMicken added the simplest of conversions and Connacht lead 7-5 with 22 minutes gone.
In another splendid piece of opportunism four minutes later, Leinster’s David Poff saw an opening and kicked through as the onrushing Keenan showed a clean pair of heels to opposing centre Andrew Lynch and dived to apply the downward pressure for Leinster’s second try.
The Blackrock man’s try was expertly converted from the touchline by Hughes and Leinster led 12-7 with nine minutes left in the half.
Leinster’s superior power and size was taking its toll on Connacht and when the hosts lost their own lineout on their 22, it took just a couple of phases before Leinster had their third touchdown – this time flanker Connors raced over with Hughes adding the extras.
It was 19-7 to Hogan’s charges at the break and they started the second period as they finished the first, pinning the Connacht attack deep inside their own half before they forced a mistake and created a fantastic five-pointer.
Leinster won their own lineout and after dragging Connacht back and forth across the pitch, they switched the play. The magnificent Deegan’s peripheral vision was in check as he flicked an audacious pass to prop Abdaladze (pictured below) who had the easiest of run-ins.
The conversion matched what had gone before as Hughes sublimely finished from the touchline to give the Blues a 26-7 lead just six minutes after the restart.
Gonzaga scrum half Peters made a telling contribution before his withdrawal when he got his name on the scoresheet as well.
Connacht had given away a penalty advantage when they could not contain another period of intense Leinster pressure and Peters spotted the missing pillar before scampering over under the posts and Hughes added the extras.
The westerners finally had another bit of territory around the hour mark but they could have had a try earlier than that when Michael O’Connell had the try-line beckoning but failed to give the pass when there were players better placed and he knocked on instead.
What happened after that summed-up Connacht’s afternoon in a nutshell – they punched their way to within inches of the Leinster line and with a try looking most likely, McMickan’s pass was picked off brilliantly by Leinster centre Howlett who ran the length off the field for their sixth try of the day.
Replacement Tommy Whittle missed the conversion but Leinster still wanted more as only a late knock-on prevented them from adding to their haul of tries.
LEINSTER U-19: Alan Hughes (Clongowes Wood College); Matthew Byrne (Terenure College), Jake Howlett (Newbridge College), David Poff (Wesley College), Hugo Keenan (Blackrock College); Jimmy O’Brien (Newbridge College), Nick Peters (Gonzaga College); Vakh Abdaladze (Coolmine), Hugo Kean (Blackrock College), Adam Coyle (Naas), Michael Melia (Terenure College), James Ryan (St. Michael’s College) (capt), Will Connors (Clongowes Wood College), David Aspil (High School), Max Deegan (St. Michael’s College).
Replacements used: John Molony (Clongowes Wood College) for Kean (25 mins), Andrew Feeney (Suttonians) for Peters, Matthew Bursey (King’s Hospital) for Aspil (both 51), Eoin O’Neill (St. Michael’s College) for Coyle (58), Oisin O’Meara (St. Michael’s College) for Hughes, Tommy Whittle (St. Gerard’s) for O’Brien (both 62), Tom Treacy (Newbridge College) for Melia, Eoghan Byrne (Gonzaga College) for Abdaladze (both 64).
CONNACHT U-19: Kevin Burke (Buccaneers); Patrick Daly (Ballinrobe), Andrew Lynch (Sligo), Ruairi Greene (Corinthians), Jack Keegan (Sligo); Charlie McMickan (Buccaneers), Tom McHale (Westport); Niall Farrelly (Buccaneers), Joe Bennett (Sligo), Joseph Ugbo (Galwegians), Peter Claffey (Galwegians), Conall O’Brien (Buccaneers), Mathew Cosgrove (Sligo) (capt), Michael O’Connell (Corinthians), Daniel Trayers (Corinthians).
Replacements used: Conal Slater (Buccaneers) for Bennett (30 mins), James Foley (Buccaneers) for Claffey (half-time), Ronan O’Brien (Sligo) for Trayers (51), Richard Dromgoole-Maguire (Buccaneers) for O’Connell (60), Jerome Scully (Corinthians) for Lynch, Thomas Moran (Sligo) for Farrelly, Matthew Gavin (Connemara) for Ugbo (all 66). Not used: Simon Keller (Ballinasloe).
The Ulster Under-19s made the journey to Cork where they played Munster at the Mardyke on Saturday. Although they had to cope with the late withdrawal of some key players due to injury and non-availability, they displayed a great deal of character to record a 5-3 victory.
Munster were forced to make one late change in personnel with Josh Barnes coming into the second row and the Tralee man did very well, especially at lineout time.
The game got off to an excellent start from an Ulster point of view when speedy left winger Jonny Rosborough gathered the ball from Gareth Millar’s kick-off to run in for an unconverted try with literally just seconds on the clock.
The remainder of the first half saw both teams looking for quality possession and territory but, at critical times, opportunities to gain a set piece platform were denied. Both defences were well organised and there were no further scores up to the interval.
The second period started well for Munster when their out-half Paul Downes reduced the arrears to 5-3 when he converted a penalty shortly after the restart.
Munster piled the pressure on their northern counterparts but the visitors showed impressive discipline in denying Colm McMahon’s charges any real further opportunities to score points.
Indeed, Ulster looked the most likely side to score a try in the closing stages and they saw out a well-deserved two-point triumph in the end, sealing the runners-up spot in the process.
MUNSTER U-19: James O’Connor (Tralee); Brian Fanning (Bruff), Tim Cronin (Bantry Bay), Rory Horgan (Rockwell College) (capt), Joe White (Clonakilty); Paul Downes (Bruff), John Poland (Presentation Brothers College); Philip Poillot (UL Bohemians), Shane Fenton (Ardscoil Rís), Ben Betts (Young Munster), John Barnes (Tralee), Sean O’Connor (Rockwell College), Ronan Murphy (Castletroy College), Daniel Walsh (Christian Brothers College), Kelvin Brown (Shannon).
Replacements: Vincent O’Brien (Christian Brothers College), Peter Meyer (St. Munchin’s College), David Jennings (Clonakilty), Tommy Anglim (Rockwell College), Rory Cunningham (Old Crescent), Paul O’Keeffe (Kanturk), Gary O’Sullivan (Crescent College Comprehensive).
ULSTER U-19: Andrew Cardosi (Wallace HS); Peter Dunlop (tbc), Alistair McIvor (Methodist College), Kieran Joyce (Malone), Jonathan Rosbourgh (Ballymena); Gareth Millar (Methodist College), Christopher Gibson (tbc); Connor McIlmurray (tbc), Adam McBurney (Ballymena), Rory Squires (Rainey Old Boys), Hugh Sloan (Queen’s University), Harry Cleland (Banbridge), Matthew Fisher (Carrickfergus), Josh McIlroy (Ballymena Academy) (capt), Matthew McKinney (Methodist College).
Replacements: Tristan King (tbc), Ben Haliday (Malone), Andrew Shaw (Rainey Old Boys), Ben O’Ryan (tbc), James Houston (tbc), Cameron Stewart (Campbell College), Matthew Hooks (RS Armagh), Ryan Spence (Sullivan Upper).
Leinster 19 Munster 10, Templeville Road
Ulster 24 Connacht 17, Deramore Park
Munster 30 Connacht 10, Tom Clifford Park
Ulster 13 Leinster 40, Deramore Park
Connacht 7 Leinster 38, the Sportsground
Munster 3 Ulster 5, the Mardyke