Leinster’s second half scoring blitz against Ulster has put them in a very strong position heading into next Saturday’s final round of the IRFU Under-19 Interprovincial Championship. They are the only unbeaten team left in the tournament, with Munster, who were 35-point winners away to Connacht, their closest challengers.
IRFU UNDER-19 INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 2: September 9-10
LEINSTER U-19s 59 ULSTER U-19s 15, Donnybrook
Scorers: Leinster U-19s: Tries: Ruairi Shields 2, Cormac Foley, Niall McEniff, David Ryan, Michael Milne, Scott Penny, Adam Melia; Cons: David Ryan 5; Pens: David Ryan 3
Ulster U-19s: Tries: Mark Thompson, Stewart Moore; Con: Bruce Houston; Pen: Bruce Houston
HT: Leinster U-19s 13 Ulster U-19s 8
The Leinster Under-19s ran riot in the second half against Ulster at Donnybrook, racking up a half-century of points to move within reach of the IRFU Under-19 Interprovincial Championship title.
There were contrasting fortunes for these two sides in the opening round, Andy Wood and Simon Broughton’s Leinster side edging out Munster 13-12 down in Cork, while Ulster, who are coached by Willie Anderson, James Topping and Kieran Campbell, lost their grip on a first half lead when losing 27-21 away to Connacht.
Ulster’s second road trip began in encouraging fashion, their forwards driving hard and quick passing releasing winger Mark Thompson for a seventh-minute try out wide. That came in response to an initial penalty goal from Leinster centre David Ryan, who ended the day with a handsome 24-point haul.
Ryan kicked Leinster back in front after a leg-pumping run from out-half and captain David Hawkshaw, with Ulster’s Michael O’Neill pinged for not releasing after the tackle. Hawkshaw’s opposite number Bruce Houston slid a penalty wide at the other end, with Leinster going unpunished for accidental offside.
The exchanges were fast and physical, Ulster captain Claytan Mulligan and prop Paul McGookin catching the eye for their running ability and distribution respectively. Centres David Lyttle and Stewart Moore were also causing regular problems for the Leinster defence.
Nonetheless, Leinster showed how clinical they can be when Liam Turner’s gritty work on the ground forced a penalty, Ryan Baird secured lineout possession and following a well-controlled maul and carry from number 8 Dan O’Donovan, the ball was swiftly moved out to the left wing where Ruairi Shields was able to touch down. Ryan added a smashing conversion from the touchline.
A Houston penalty right on half-time closed the gap to 13-8, but by the 48th minute, Ulster’s challenge had waned with fired-up Leinster sprinting into a 27-point lead. Good work from Reuben Pim and Adam Melia sent scrum half Cormac Foley scampering through a gap and a neat sidestep took him to the whitewash for Ryan to convert.
Ulster conceded again when the hosts’ slick movement and passing – Foley, Ryan, Turner and Adam La Grue were all involved – set up a seven-pointer for prop Niall McEniff. The bonus point score was just around the corner, Ryan planting a penalty through the posts before finishing off a sweeping move himself to widen the margin to 35-8.
Leinster replacement prop Michael Milne quickly added his name to the scoresheet, combining with McEniff for ground gained and rifling through the middle for the fifth try, converted by Ryan. The latter provided the pass for flanker Scott Penny, who captained the Ireland U-18 Schools team to victory over Wales last April, to canter in for another seven points.
Ulster notched a second try in response – an intercept effort by Ballymena Academy centre Moore – only for Leinster replacement Declan Adamson to send winger Shields over for his second score in the 63rd minute. Finally, hard-working Terenure lock Melia was there to pick up the pieces, after Baird was stopped short of the line, to complete the eight-try rout.
LEINSTER U-19: Robert Russell (St. Michael’s College); Adam La Grue (Terenure College), Liam Turner (Blackrock College), David Ryan (St Michael’s College), Ruairi Shields (St Mary’s College); David Hawkshaw (Belvedere College) (capt), Cormac Foley (St. Gerard’s School); Niall McEniff (St. Mary’s College), Richard Bergin (St. Mary’s College), Conan Dunne (Kilkenny RFC), Adam Melia (Terenure College), Ryan Baird (St. Michael’s College), Reuben Pim (Kilkenny College). Scott Penny (St. Michael’s College), Dan O’Donovan (St. Michael’s College).
Replacements: Declan Adamson (St. Fintan’s High School), Aziz Naser (St. Finan’s High School), Michael Milne (CC Roscrea), Ronan Watters (St. Mary’s College), Ruadhan Byron (Belvedere College), Garrett Fitzgerald (Tullow RFC), Conor Kelly (CC Roscrea), Brian O’Donnell (Gonzaga College).
ULSTER U-19: Michael O’Neill (Rainey Old Boys); Mark Thompson (Ballymena Academy), Stewart Moore (Ballymena Academy), David Lyttle (RBAI), Jonny Hunter (Wallace High School); Bruce Houston (Ballymena Academy), Callum Harkin (Malone RFc); Jack Walters (Exiles), Claytan Milligan (Down High School) (capt), Paul McGookin (Ballyclare RFC), JJ McKee (Antrim Grammar School), Josh Young (Ballyclare High School), Oisin Jordan (Ballymena Academy), Matthew Crowther (Campbell College), Jamie Macartney (Campbell College).
Replacements: Neil Saulters (RBAI), Ben Savage (Ballymena Academy), Jack McIntosh (Rainey Old Boys), Oisin Kiernan (Campbell College), Ben Heath (Dromore High School), Niall Armstrong (RBAI), Evin Crummie (City of Armagh), Zach Kerr (Bangor Grammar School).
Referee: Robert O’Sullivan (IRFU)
CONNACHT U-19s 8 MUNSTER U-19s 43, the Sportsground
Scorers: Connacht U-19s: Try: Jack O’Mahony; Pen: Diarmuid Codyre
Munster U-19s: Tries: Billy Scannell, Jake Flannery, Luke Clohessy, David Hyland, Colin Sisk, Jonathan Wren 2; Cons: Jake Flannery 4
HT: Connacht U-19s 3 Munster U-19s 22
The Munster U-19s finished one try short of Leinster’s tally of eight, with PBC Cork full-back Jonathan Wren (pictured below) bagging a second half brace in their comprehensive 43-8 defeat of hosts Connacht at a very blustery Sportsground.
Playing with the elements in the first half, Ambrose Conboy’s Connacht, who were 27-21 winners over Ulster last week, needed to build a lead but fell behind to an early Billy Scannell try off a rolling maul. The hosts responded immediately with a Diarmuid Codyre penalty.
However, Colm McMahon’s Munster outfit, who were held try-less by Leinster in round 1, moved further in front before the break as Jake Flannery, Luke Clohessy and David Hyland all touched down for a commanding 22-3 half-time lead.
Facing into a very strong wind in the second period, the young westerners had it all to do. Despite a wholehearted performance, they were unable to make any inroads and Munster rounded off their bonus point triumph thanks to a try from scrum half and captain Colin Sisk and Wren’s well-taken double.
Connacht kept going and scored a consolation try late on when Young Munster winger Jack O’Mahony touched down in the left corner. The final round next Saturday afternoon will see Munster travel north to face Ulster at RBAI, while Connacht wrap up their Interpro campaign against champions-elect Leinster at Donnybrook.
CONNACHT U-19: Hugh Lane (Galwegians); Cillian McCabe (Galwegians), Luke Fitzgerald (Young Munster), Adi Donovan (Galwegians), Jack O’Mahony (Young Munster); Diarmuid Codyre (Galwegians), Colm Reilly (Ballinasloe); Ronan Corless (Galwegians), Dylan Tierney (Corinthians), Ryan Lomas (Buccaneers), Zach Sattar (CBC Monkstown), Niall Murray (Buccaneers), Michael O’Donnell (Galwegians), Cian Huxford (Corinthians) (capt), Pat Howley (Ballina).
Replacements: Morgan O’Brien (Corinthians), Brian Boland (Ballina), Sean Dunne (Lansdowne), Jake Gallagher (Coláiste Iognáid), Sam Kroupa (Nenagh Ormond), Rob Hennessy (Galwegians), Michael Hanley (Buccaneers), Aaron Martyn (Galwegians).
MUNSTER U-19: Jonathan Wren (PBC); Conor Phillips (Crescent College Comprehensive), Sean French (PBC), Evan O’Gorman (Young Munster), Ikem Ugwueru (Ennis); Jack Flannery (Rockwell College), Colin Sisk (CBC) (capt); Josh Wycherley (CC Roscrea), Billy Scannell (PBC), Luke Masters (CBC); Roy Whelan (Ardscoil Rís), Paddy Kelly (St. Munchin’s College), David Hyland (PBC), Daniel Feasy (Crescent College), Luke Clohessey (Ardscoil Rís).
Replacements: John Hodnett (Clonakilty), Travis Coomey (Bandon Grammar School), Ashley Deane (Bandon Grammar School), Colin Deane (Bandon Grammar School), James O’Shaughnessy (PBC), Harry Byrne (Garryowen), Michael Gorman (Ardscoil Rís), Conor Hayes (Young Munster).
Referee: Peter Martin (IRFU)
IRFU UNDER-19 INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 3 FIXTURES:
Saturday, September 16 –
LEINSTER U-19s (1st) v CONNACHT U-19s (3rd), Donnybrook, 3pm
ULSTER U-19s (4th) v MUNSTER U-19s (2nd), RBAI, 3.30pm
TOP SCORERS AFTER TWO ROUNDS:
32 – David Ryan (Leinster)
19 – Jake Flannery (Munster)
15 – Diarmuid Codyre (Connacht)
11 – Bruce Houston (Ulster)
10 – Jack O’Mahony (Connacht), Cormac Foley (Leinster), Ruairi Shields (Leinster), Jonathan Wren (Munster)
6 – Sean French (Munster)
2 – Jack O’Mahony (Connacht), Cormac Foley (Leinster), Ruairi Shields (Leinster), Jonathan Wren (Munster)
1 – Adi Donovan (Connacht), Ryan Lomas (Connacht), Niall McEniff (Leinster), David Ryan (Leinster), Michael Milne (Leinster), Scott Penny (Leinster), Adam Melia (Leinster), Billy Scannell (Munster), Jake Flannery (Munster), Luke Clohessy (Munster), David Hyland (Munster), Colin Sisk (Munster), Jonny Hunter (Ulster), David Lyttle (Ulster), Azur Allison (Ulster), Mark Thompson (Ulster), Stewart Moore (Ulster)