Connacht 27-21 Ulster
Two late tries helped the Connacht U19s secure a thrilling 27-21 victory over Ulster to make the perfect start to their Interprovincial campaign.
Trailing 21-13 at the interval, Connacht dominated the second half but were held off by a strong Ulster defence until centre Adi Donovan crashed over with 10 minutes remaining.
Diarmuid Codyre’s conversion reduced the deficit to a single point, 21-20, but Connacht could sense their opportunity and snatch the victory late on as a rolling maul rumbled over the line with prop Ryan Lomas grounding the ball.
Codyre again added the extras and the Connacht had to withstand a late Ulster surge to cling onto a precious opening day win.
The northern province started much the better of the sides and it was no surprise when they hit the front on nine minutes through a Jonny Hunter try in the left corner with out-half Bruce Houston converting.
Connacht hit back through a brilliant Jack O’Mahony try with centre Luke Fitzgerald playing a pivotal role in the try as the left winger streaked clear to score.
Codyre slotted the touchline conversion with aplomb and the sides were level at 7-all after a quarter hour.
Connacht then began to gain the upper hand and took the lead for the first time before the half hour through a Codyre penalty but were hit by a sucker punch almost immediately as Ulster broke to score their second try.
Codyre did well to halt Hunter with an ankle tap but the winger popped the ball up for David Lyttle to scoot over with Houston making it 14-10 with the extra two.
Connacht again came back strongly and Codyre’s second penalty reduced the gap to a point but Ulster countered once again as no.8 Azul Allison trundled clear for Ulster’s third try under the posts.
Houston’s third conversion gave Ulster a 21-13 half-time cushion but Connacht dominated the second half and got their just desserts with two tries in the final 10 minutes for the win.
Next up for the U19s is a home clash with Munster next Sunday at 2.30pm at the Sportsground with admission free.
Connacht: 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: Danny Arnold (Creggs), Brian Boland (Ballina), Sean Dunne (Lansdowne), Jake Gallagher (Coláiste Iognáid), Morgan O’Brien (Corinthians), Rob Hennessy (Galwegians), Michael Hanley (Buccaneers), Aaron Martyn (Galwegians).