Connacht 17 –  23 Leinster photo courtesy Jonathon Curren/
Con_Leinster2010Connacht suffered an unlucky defeat to Leinster in this Junior Interpro held in Creggs on Saturday. Played in ideal conditions Connacht led for all but 10 minutes of this game.  The opening 20 minutes saw both sides test each other up front with the Connacht pack having the upper hand in the set pieces and frequently disrupting the Leinster lineout.
After 24 minutes a well worked backline move saw Connacht centre Jordan Farringdon score his third try of the series close to the posts and outhalf Paddy Pearson duly landed the conversion. Leinster duly responded and set up outhalf Barry Lynn for a drop goal on 34 minutes to leave the score at 7 – 3 in favour of the home side.
With two minutes to go to half time the Connacht pack set up a series of mauls on the Leinster line and no. 6 Eoin Rooney drove over for a well worked try which Pearson converted. At  14 – 3 Connacht needed to see out the half without conceding a score but fullback Kevin Higgins was sinbinned for a ruck infringement on the Connacht 25 metre line and Lynn converted the resultant penalty to leave the score at 14 – 6 in Connacht’s favour at half time.
Leinster made it 14 – 9 two minutes after the resumption with a penalty from Lynn and the game became intense and scrappy with referee McCormack sin binning three players in the second half. This opened up chances for both sides and Pearson put Connacht ahead 17 – 9 with a penalty after 57 minutes when Leinster no. 8 John Phelan was sinbinned for stamping. Connacht continued to try and press home their advantage but they were hit with two sucker punches when Leinster scored breakaway tries in the 63rd and 70th minutes. Substitute James Downey scored the first and centre Bevan Duffy intercepted a Connacht attack on his own 25 metre line and sprinted the length of the pitch to score under the posts. Outhalf Lynn converted both scores to make it 23 – 17 for the visitors and try as they might Connacht could not get over the Leinster line in those last ten minutes.
Leinster were mightily relieved to hear the final whistle for a victory they scarcely deserved as they readily admitted in post match interviews but this was scant consolation to a bitterly disappointed Connacht squad.
Connacht head to Cork to play Munster next Saturday in the final game of the series and will be looking to go out on a high and repeat their victory of last season over the Munster men
Connacht:    K. Higgins (Capt), K. Corcoran, J. Farringdon, J. Culkin, T. Lee, P. Pearson, M. Murphy, A. Bane, M. Lee, T. Toolan, W. Parker, T. McAuliffe, E. Rooney, E. Murphy, A. McNulty
Subs Used:     M. Ward, K. Cox, D. Higgins, D. Prior, G. O’Connor, B. Leahy, D. Gerrity


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