There were winning starts for Leinster and Munster in the IRFU Under-18 Clubs Interprovincial Championship, with Dan van Zyl’s Leinster side claiming top spot courtesy of a six-try dismissal of Ulster on Saturday afternoon.
IRFU UNDER-18 CLUBS INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 1: Saturday, September 9
ULSTER U-18 CLUBS 0 LEINSTER U-18 CLUBS 45, City of Armagh RFC
Scorers: Ulster U-18 Clubs: –
Leinster U-18 Clubs: Tries: Fionn Gilbert 2, Matthew Jungmann, Diarmuid Egan, Josh O’Connor, Jordan Kelly; Cons: Shane Murphy 6; Pen: Shane Murphy
HT: Ulster U-18 Clubs 0 Leinster U-18 Clubs 31
The Leinster Under-18 Clubs team blasted their Ulster counterparts for half-a-dozen tries in their Interprovincial Championship opener, which was played in wet conditions at City of Armagh RFC.
Leinster head coach Dan van Zyl would have warned against the spectre of complacency given Ulster’s poor recent history in this competition. Mindful of this, the visitors looked to get out of the blocks sharply and let their forwards, led by openside and captain Luke Thompson, take the fight to the Ulster side.
They were merciless in their approach, Seapoint winger Matthew Jungmann exploiting the short side for the opening try and scrum half Shane Murphy converting as early as the fourth minute. The solid work of the blue-clad forwards was rewarded when Clontarf lock Fionn Gilbert burst over for Murphy to add the extras in the 15th minute.
The impression that the Leinster back-three looked dangerous on the ball was supported by Tullamore full-back Diarmuid Egan’s finish down the left hand side for Murphy to convert.
The one-way traffic continued with a penalty from Skerries starlet Murphy on the half hour mark. Then, Leinster raided down the right wing for Wexford Wanderers’ Josh O’Connor to show his pace and cross the whitewash. Murphy’s conversion stretched the lead to an unassailable 31-0 lead at the break.
Thereafter, multiple replacements made for a scrappy second half as both sides looked to their benches. Gilbert sold two dummies to collect his second try. The try-scoring was closed out by Leinster replacement prop Jordan Kelly, Murphy making it six conversions out of six to round off an impressive start to the three-match campaign.
Leinster U-18 Clubs team manager Louis Magee said: “We had Belvedere College, the Exiles and Blackrock College (as opposition) in the lead-in to the series. Blackrock was probably the defining one for us, winning that game gave us a decent standard to work from.
“We stuck to our game-plan to keep width on our game and work through our processes. We made few mistakes in very wet conditions and had the game in hand at half-time.”
ULSTER U-18 CLUBS: Nathan Jeffers (Rainey Old Boys); Ciaron Wilson (Carrickfergus), Peter Cullen (Randalstown), Ben Moxham (Larne), Alan Thompson (Coleraine); Matthew Hamilton (Malone), Nathan Rogers (Armagh); Niall Preston (Virginia), Ciaran McGlone (Rainey), Seif Eldin Abd El Gawad (Carrickfergus), Stephen Kelly (Inishowen), Conor McMenamim (Letterkenny), Sam Murray (Armagh), Charlie Clarke (Rainey Old Boys) (capt), Phil Campbell (Ballymena).
Replacements: Eoin Macdonald (Randalstown), Adam Marley (Finn Valley), Harry Mawhinney (Ballyclare), Robbie Mathers (Banbridge), Matthew Sands (Newry), Ashley Tweed (Ballymoney), Rory Maginty (Letterkenny), Finlay Walker (Ballymena).
LEINSTER U-18 CLUBS: Diarmuid Egan (Tullamore), Matthew Jungmann (Seapoint), Luis Faria (Wanderers), Karl Martin (Boyne), Josh O’Connor (Wexford Wanderers); Paddy McKenzie (Wicklow), Shane Murphy (Skerries); Marcus Hanan (Clane), Barry Ryan (Wexford Wanderers), Michael Power (Clontarf), Fionn Gilbert (Clontarf), Sam Porter (Wicklow), Brian Deeney (Wexford Wanderers), Luke Thompson (Wicklow) (capt), David Murphy (Blackrock).
Replacements: Sean O’Rourke (Athy), Mark Nicholson (Wicklow), Jordan Kelly (Enniscorthy), Tadgh Butler (Kilkenny), Robery Murphy (Gorey), Jack Ussher (Suttonians), Adam Nealon (De La Salle Palmerston), Thomas O’Brien (Skerries).
Referee: Jason Cairns (IRFU)
MUNSTER U-18 CLUBS 22 CONNACHT U-18 CLUBS 7, Cork Institute of Technology
Scorers: Munster U-18 Clubs: Tries: Charlie O’Doherty, David McNamara, Ben Daly; Cons: Conor O’Brien 2; Pen: Conor O’Brien
Connacht U-18 Clubs: Try: Billy McVann; Con: Craig McCormack
HT: Munster U-18 Clubs 17 Connacht U-18 Clubs 7
Defending champions Munster strung together three tries to overcome JP Walsh’s Connacht youngsters in a well-contested first round tie at the Cork IT grounds on Saturday.
The westerners, who were coached by Walsh, Eric Elwood and Colm Tucker throughout the summer months, opened the scoring within six minutes of the kick-off. Hooker Billy McVann made a break from a maul following a five-meter lineout to score the game’s first try, which his Ballina RFC colleague Craig McCormack converted.
Armed with a first half wind advantage, Munster began to turn the screw and Newcastle West’s Charlie O’Doherty opened their account with a try following a ruck inside the visitors’ 22. Nenagh Ormond full-back Conor O’Brien converted to tie things up at seven points apiece.
Noel O’Meara’s Munster charges took the lead when the ball was spread out to Ennis winger David McNamara (pictured above) following a ruck inside the Connacht 22. His try was converted by O’Brien who then widened the margin to 10 points (17-7) with a penalty from outside the 22. McCormack missed a similar effort at the other end, on the stroke of half-time.
The only score of the second half came three minutes from time when Waterpark out-half Ben Daly sprinted from his own 22, after intercepting a Connacht pass, to score a terrific solo try in the corner, which he failed to convert. The victorious Munster team was captained by Nenagh flanker Evan Murphy who played for the Ireland U-18 Clubs side last season.
MUNSTER U-18 CLUBS: Conor O’Brien (Nenagh Ormond RFC/Nenagh CBS); Chimdi Oji (Douglas RFC/ Douglas Community School), Ciaran Evans (Midleton RFC/Midleton CBS), Patrick Scully (Fethard RFC/Thurles CBS), David McNamara (Ennis RFC/Ennistymon Technical School); Ben Daly (Waterpark RFC/Ard Scoil Na Mhara), Charlie O’Doherty (Newcastle West RFC/Scoil Mhuire agus Ide); Conor Morrissey (Cork Constitution FC/Mayfield Community School), Paudie McCarthy (Bantry Bay RFC/Colaiste Phobail Bheanntrai), Darragh Fitzgerald (Rugbai Chorca Dhuibhne/Pobailscoil Chorca Dhuibhne), Thomas Ahern (Dungarvan RFC/St. Augustine’s Dungarvan), Eoin O’Connor (Waterpark RFC/Gael Cholaiste Phort Lairge), Mark Stafford (Midleton RFC/Midleton College), Evan Murphy (Nenagh Ormond RFC/Nenagh CBS) (capt), Oisin Cooke (Garryowen FC/Villiers School).
Replacements: Harry Jephson (Waterpark RFC/Newtown School), Ciaran Bohane (Ballincollig RFC/Gael Cholaiste Choilm), Shane O’Driscoll (Midleton RFC/Midleton College), Seaghan Walsh (Waterford City RFC/De La Salle College), Jack O’Keeffe (Nenagh Ormond RFC/Nenagh CBS), Kevin O’Connor (Cashel RFC/Cashel Community School), Alan Kiely (St. Mary’s RFC/Colaiste Chiarain Croom), Jamie Shanahan (Skibbereen RFC/Skibbereen Community School).
CONNACHT U-18 CLUBS: Conor O’Shaughnessy (Galwegians RFC/St. Jartlath’s College); Dara Hanrahan (Corinthians RFC/Colaiste Iognaid), Saul O’Carroll (Buccaneers RFC/Garbally College), Craig McCormack (Ballina RFC/Gortnor Abbey), Shane Jennings (Ballinasloe RFC/Garbally College); Adam Cunningham (Galwegians RFC/Colaiste Iognaid), Evan Kenny (Corinthians RFC/Colaiste Iognaid); Cathal O’Grady (Buccaneers RFC/Marist College), Billy McVann (Ballina RFC/St. Muredach’s), Niall Carney (Corinthians RFC/St. Jartlath’s College), Dara Murray (Buccaneers/St Aloysius College), Iarlaith Laheen-Morrin (Galwegians RFC/Calasanctius College) (capt), Sean Keaney (Galwegians RFC/The Bish), Mathias O’Neill (Buccaneers RFC/Marist College), Jack Mulholland (Corinthians RFC/The Bish).
Replacements: Darren Browne (Buccaneers RFC/Marist College), Caolin Hopkins (Ballina RFC/St Joseph’s Foxford), Liam Doyle (Buccaneers RFC/Marist College), Thomas Connolly (Galwegians RFC), Oisin McCormack (Ballinasloe RFC/Garbally College), Tim Lambe (Creggs RFC/Roscommon CBS), Daniel Plaster (Castlebar RFC/St. Gerald’s College), Nathan Horan (Buccaneers RFC/Garbally College).
Referee: Chris Lough (IRFU)
IRFU UNDER-18 CLUBS INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 2 FIXTURES:
Saturday, September 16 –
CONNACHT U-18 CLUBS (3rd) v LEINSTER U-18 CLUBS (1st), the Sportsground, 2.30pm
Sunday, September 17 –
MUNSTER U-18 CLUBS (2nd) v ULSTER U-18 CLUBS (4th), Thomond Park, 1pm