The IRFU Under-18 Clubs Interprovincial Championship is now a straight shootout between leaders Leinster and defending champions Munster. The unbeaten pair will clash in the final round at Donnybrook next Saturday (kick-off 12pm).
IRFU UNDER-18 CLUBS INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 2: September 16-17
CONNACHT U-18 CLUBS 10 LEINSTER U-18 CLUBS 40, the Sportsground
Scorers: Connacht U-18 Clubs: Try: Darragh Hanrahan; Con: Conor O’Shaughnessy; Pen: Conor O’Shaughnessy
Leinster U-18 Clubs: Tries: Karl Martin, Paddy McKenzie, Matthew Jungmann, Charlie Ward 2, Luis Faria; Cons: Shane Murphy 3, Karl Martin, Paddy McKenzie
HT: Connacht U-18 Clubs 10 Leinster U-18 Clubs 12
The Leinster Under-18 Clubs team exploded into life in the second half to blitz their Connacht counterparts for four tries in the second round of the U-18 Clubs Interpros at the Sportsground.
Benefiting from the coaching expertise of Eric Elwood and Colm Tucker in support of head coach JP Walsh, the Connacht youngsters were determined to make up for a deflating 22-7 defeat away to Munster in the opening round.
It was Dan van Zyl’s Leinster who flew out of the traps, though, as a burst from Wicklow out-half Paddy McKenzie in behind a scrum was a prompt for Boyne centre Karl Martin to go over to the left of the posts. Scrum half Shane Murphy from Skerries converted in the third minute.
However, Connacht refused two kickable penalties to go for greater reward. It eventually paid off six phases later when working the ball wide for Corinthians winger Darragh Hanrahan to cross in the 11th minute, with his back-three colleague Conor O’Shaughnessy levelling in brilliant fashion from the touchline.
McKenzie’s opportunism was seen to good effect when a quick tap penalty caught Connacht napping for a second Leinster try, before the hosts narrowed the gap when Hanrahan intercepted and two rucks later an infringement allowed O’Shaughnessy to make it 12-10 for half-time.
The visitors, who topped the table after a 45-0 opening win over ulster, used the wind well to apply pressure in the second half without breaking through a resilient Connacht defence. Once again, it was a training ground move from a scrum which was the launching pad, McKenzie pulling the ball back for Seapoint’s Matthew Jungmann to ghost through for Murphy to convert in the 42nd minute.
From the restart, they methodically moved downfield where Tullow prop Charlie Ward was held up over the line. The tighthead was back again in the 45th minute to burst Connacht’s bubble for the fourth try, converted by Murphy for a 26-10 scoreline.
Leinster rubber-stamped their superiority, Jungmann racing up the wing to almost grab his second, unfortunately getting injured in the process. The weight of pressure finally told when the omni-present Ward pounded out his second try for McKenzie to kick the extras in the 50th minute.
Connacht’s left winger Shane Jennings made another interception and looked good for the points until tracked down by Tullamore’s Diarmuid Egan after a hectic chase. The final scoring act came from a Leinster interception, Wanderers’ Luis Faria picking off a pass to go 80 metres for Martin to convert.
CONNACHT U-18 CLUBS: Conor O’Shaughnessy (Galwegians); Darragh Hanrahan (Corinthians), Saul O’Carroll (Buccaneers), Craig McCormick (Ballina), Shane Jennings (Ballinasloe); Adam Cunningham (Galwegians), Evan Kenny (Corinthians); Cathal O’Grady (Buccaneers), Billy McVann (Ballina), Niall Carney (Corinthians), Darragh Murray (Buccaneers), Iarlaith Laheen-Morrin (Galwegians) (capt), Sean Keaney (Galwegians), Mathias O’Neill (Buccaneers), Thomas Connolly (Galwegians).
Replacements: Eoin de Buitlear (Corinthians), Caolan Hopkins (Ballina), Cian Scanlon (Corinthians), Jack Mulholland (Corinthians), Oisin McCormack (Ballinasloe), Brendan Cunningham (Corinthians), Daniel Plaster (Castlebar), Nathan Horan (Buccaneers).
LEINSTER U-18 CLUBS: Diarmuid Egan (Tullamore); Sean Wafer (Gorey), Karl Martin (Boyne), Mikey McGiff (Clontarf), Matthew Jungmann (Seapoint); Paddy McKenzie (Wicklow), Shane Murphy (Skerries); Marcus Hanan (Clane), Mark Nicholson (Wicklow), Charlie Ward (Tullow), Fionn Gilbert (Clontarf), Sam Porter (Wicklow), Brian Deeney (Wexford Wanderers), Robert Murphy (Gorey), Luke Thompson (Wicklow) (capt).
Replacements: Michael Power (Clontarf), Harry Noonan (Greystones), Jordan Kelly (Enniscorthy), Tadgh Butler (Kilkenny), Luis Faria (Wanderers), Fiachra Hourihane (Enniscorthy), Adam Nealon (De La Salle Palmerston), Josh O’Connor (Wexford Wanderers).
Referee: Jonny Wilson (IRFU)
MUNSTER U-18 CLUBS 32 ULSTER U-18 CLUBS 7, Thomond Park
Scorers: Munster U-18 Clubs: Tries: Patrick Scully, Thomas Ahern, Daragh Fitzgerald, Conor O’Brien, Jamie Shanahan; Cons: Conor O’Brien 2; Pen: Conor O’Brien
Ulster U-18 Clubs: Try: Niall Preston; Con: Finlay Walker
HT: Munster U-18 Clubs 32 Ulster U-18 Clubs 0
Noel O’Meara’s Munster did all of the damage in the first half against Ulster on Sunday as they made it two wins out of two in their bid to retain the Under-18 Clubs Interprovincial crown.
They ran in five tries before half-time with backs Patrick Scully, Conor O’Brien and Jamie Shanahan, lock Thomas Ahern and prop Daragh Fitzgerald all crossing the whitewash. Nenagh Ormond full-back O’Brien also kicked a penalty and two conversions.
In warm conditions at Thomond Park, this was very much a game of two halves. Ulster lacked a clinical edge when attacking in the Munster 22. They were held up three times when attempting to score tries from close range.
Although the home side started the stronger and piled on the points, the Ulster youngsters, who are coached by Jonathan Gillespie, Jonathon Graham and Michael Black, were the better team after the break. They had another near miss when a knock-on denied them a try, but they deserved got on the scoreboard thanks to a converted score under the posts from Virginia prop Niall Preston.
MUNSTER U-18 CLUBS: Conor O’Brien (Nenagh Ormond RFC/Nenagh CBS); Chimdi Oji (Douglas RFC/Douglas Community School), Patrick Scully (Fethard RFC/Thurles CBS), Jamie Shanahan (Skibbereen RFC/Skibbereen CS), David McNamara (Ennis RFC/Ennistymon Tech); Alan Kiely (St. Mary’s RFC/Colaiste Chiarain, Croom), Kevin O’Connor (Cashel RFC/Cashel Community School); Conor Morrissey Cork Constitution FC/Mayfield Community School), Padraig McCarthy (Bantry Bay RFC/Colaiste Pobail, Bheanntrai), Daragh Fitzgerald (Rugbaí Chorca Dhuibhne/Pobailscoil, Chorca Dhuibhne); Thomas Ahern (Dungarvan RFC/St. Augustine’s Dungarvan), Eoin O’Connor (Waterpark RFC/Gaelcholaiste Phortlairge); Seaghán Walsh (Waterford City RFC/De La Salle College, Waterford), Evan Murphy (Nenagh Ormond RFC/Nenagh CBS) (capt), Mark Stafford (Midleton RFC/Midleton College).
Replacements: Harry Jephson (Waterpark RFC/Newtown School, Waterford), Ciaran Bohane (Ballincollig RFC/Gaelcholaiste Choilm), Shane O’Driscoll (Midleton RFC/Midleton College), Jason Connolly (Skibbereen RFC/Bandon Grammar School), Jack O’Keeffe (Nenagh Ormond RFC/Nenagh CBS), Charlie O’Doherty (Newcastle West RFC/Ard Scoil Na Mhuire & Ide), Ben Daly (Waterpark RFC/Ard Scoil Na Mhara, Tramore), Ciaran Evans (Midleton RFC/Midleton CBS).
ULSTER U-18 CLUBS: Nathan Jeffers (Rainey Old Boys RFC); Ciaron Wilson (Carrickfergus RFC), Peter Cullen (Randalstown RFC), Ben Moxham (Larne RFC), Alan Thompson (Coleraine RFC); Matthew Hamilton (Malone RFC), Nathan Rogers (City of Armagh RFC); Niall Preston (Virginia RFC), Ciaran McGlone (Rainey Old Boys RFC), Seif Eldin Abd El Gawad (Carrick RFC); Stephen Kelly (Inishowen RFC), Conor McMenamim (Letterkenny RFC); Sam Murray (City of Armagh RFC), Charlie Clarke (Rainey Old Boys RFC) (capt), Phil Campbell (Ballymena RFC).
Replacements: Eoin MacDonald (Randalstown RFC), Adam Marley (Finn Valley RFC), Harry Mawhinney (Ballyclare RFC), Robbie Mathers (Banbridge RFC), Matthew Sands (Newry RFC), Ashley Tweed (Ballymoney RFC), Rory Maginty (Letterkenny RFC), Finlay Walker (Ballymena RFC).
Referee: Brian Deighan (IRFU)
IRFU UNDER-18 CLUBS INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 3 FIXTURES:
Saturday, September 23 –
LEINSTER U-18 CLUBS (1st) v MUNSTER U-18 CLUBS (2nd), Donnybrook, 12pm
ULSTER U-18 CLUBS (4th) v CONNACHT U-18 CLUBS (3rd), City of Armagh, 2.30pm
TOP SCORERS AFTER TWO ROUNDS:
21 – Shane Murphy (Leinster)
19 – Conor O’Brien (Munster)
10 – Fionn Gilbert (Leinster), Matthew Jungmann (Leinster), Charlie Ward (Leinster)
7 – Karl Martin (Leinster), Paddy McKenzie (Leinster)
2 – Fionn Gilbert (Leinster), Matthew Jungmann (Leinster), Charlie Ward (Leinster)
1 – Billy McVann (Connacht), Darragh Hanrahan (Connacht), Matthew Jungmann (Leinster), Diarmuid Egan (Leinster), Josh O’Connor (Leinster), Jordan Kelly (Leinster), Karl Martin (Leinster), Paddy McKenzie (Leinster), Luis Faria (Leinster), Charlie O’Doherty (Munster), David McNamara (Munster), Ben Daly (Munster), Patrick Scully (Munster), Thomas Ahern (Munster), Daragh Fitzgerald (Munster), Conor O’Brien (Munster), Jamie Shanahan (Munster), Niall Preston (Ulster)