Connacht U18  13 – Leinster U18 16 

Last Saturday in the Sportsground Connacht U18 took on Leinster U18 to decide the fate of the interprovincial title. In a titanic struggle Connacht got off to the perfect start when out half Simon Keller converted a penalty to give the home side an early 3-0 lead. More was to follow as mid-way through the half scrum half Stephen Kerins tapped a penalty, feed to No8 Matthew Cosgrove whose dummy took out a number of defenders, he then drew the cover and feed winger Paddy Daly who scorched over from 40 meters to give Connacht a commanding 10-0 lead. Leinster responded with a penalty beautifully struck by full back Ronan Wallace to narrow the gap to 10-3, Connacht hit straight back when Keller converted a penalty to extend their lead to 13-3.Leinster Scrum350 Leinster then enjoyed a period of quality possession which allowed centre Peter Howard to bust through two would be tacklers to thunder over from 30 meters to bring Leinster right back into the match, and leave the game beautifully poised at 13-10 to Connacht at the interval.

Soon after the restart Leinster levelled when Wallace converted a penalty. For the third quarter Leinster dominated possession and territory but resolute Connacht defence kept the visitors scoreless and it was Connacht who created the next scoring opportunity when they made a foray into the Leinster half, but the penalty attempt was narrowly wide to leave the game on a knife edge going into the final quarter. Leinster continued to press but the Connacht defence held firm until a series of scrum resets resulted in a technical infringement and up stepped Wallace to convert and put Leinster ahead for the first time. Connacht regrouped and a sweeping movement, where they took play from their own half to deep into Leinster territory that nearly ended in a try, but it was not to be, and Leinster held out to complete the grand slam and retain their interprovincial title.

Connacht: Dean McMahon (Monivea), Jack Keegan (Sligo),  Ruairi Greene (Galway Corinthians), Evan McGrath (Sligo),  Patrick Daly (Ballinrobe), Simon Keller (Ballinasloe), Stephen Kerins (Sligo), Eoghan Slevin (Buccaneers), Michael O’Connell (Galway Corinthians), Conan O’Donnell  (Sligo), Samuel  Holland (Ballinasloe), Peter Claffey (Ballinasloe), Aaron Wooton (Castlebar), Dylan Connolly  (Ballinasloe), Mathew Cosgrove (Capt, Sligo)

Replacements: Aaron Byrne (Galwegians), Conor Kenny (Buccaneers), Joe Ugbo (Galwegians), Keith Lyons (Monivea), Daire Byrne (Sligo), Joseph Conway (Sligo), Tom McHale (Westport), Peter Flannery (Ballinasloe)

Leinster: Ronan Wallace (Mullingar), Adam Mangan (Tullamore), Peter Howard (Cill Dara), Conor O’Brien (Mullingar), Ger O’Connor (Enniscorthy) / James O’Loughlin (Cill Dara) 50 mins, Ciaran Frawley (Skerries) / Kevin McLoughlin (Naas) 43 mins, Andrew Feeney (Suttonians) CAPTAIN, Vak Abdaladze (Coolmine), Ben Devlin (Kilkenny), Michael Russell (Naas), Conor Hand (Navan), Joe Carley (Enniscorthy), Tom Cuddihy (Kilkenny), Conor Farrell (Navan), Neil Reilly (Ardee)

Referee: Andy Brace Munster Branch IRFU


U18 and U19 matchday squads named for Interpro openers vs Ulster