Connacht U18 28 – 31 Leinster U18 Clubs
Buccaneers RFC hosted two age grade Interprovincial Series games on Saturday, with the first seeing Connacht U18s narrowly lose to Leinster U18 Clubs.
A late try from Paidi Farrell – his third of the game – saw the visitors take the lead for the first time and leave Athlone with the victory.
Connacht got the first score of the game, vindicating a decision to go to the corner with a kickable penalty. It was from there they built the pressure on Leinster, with the pack eventually helping to push both Diarmaid O’ Connell and the ball over the line.
It didn’t take long for Leinster, and the ever-dangerous Farrell to respond, with the winger taking advantage of some incisive play in midfield to finish an excellent move.
Connacht once again grasped the initiative soon after, with some excellent back play of their own. Gerard Murtagh and Cian Brady combined to cut a hole in Leinster’s defence, before Corinthian’s Caden Grant finished an intricate move.
However, it didn't take long for Leinster to hit back again, with scrumhalf Andrew Doyle catching Connacht's defence unawares and going over the line.
It looked like the sides were set to go into the break level, but Harry Duffy had other ideas. The flanker gave Connacht a 17-12 lead just before the half-time whistle with a try coming from strong play in the breakdown from Connacht’s pack.
Leinster started the second half with real intent, being denied a try in the early stages only by Cian Brady's last ditch tackle.
However, that only stemmed the tide briefly, as fullback Rory Allen broke through Connacht's defence and restored parity.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, The Blues were reduced to 14. Orama Dauramuzi was given a red card after the lock was deemed to have challenged Connacht full-back, Cian Brady, illegally in the air.
Momentum looked to be shifting in Connacht's direction, with a penalty from Oisin O’Neill along with a great move finished off by Patrick Flannelly.
However, an excellent individual try from Farrell brought Leinster back into the game, before the winger cut into midfield in the dying minutes and gave his side a 29-28 lead.
Peter Burgess was able to add the extras, with Connacht then running out of time to stage a response.
Connacht U19 7 – 56 Leinster U19
The second game on Saturday saw Leinster U19s run out 56-7 victors over Connacht.
Leinster looked strong from the start, with Sean Hopkins and Cody Farrell combining well to hold the ball up after the visiting side crossed Connacht's try line in the opening minutes. However, it wasn’t long before Leinster touched down beyond the whitewash, with frontrow Niall O’Hanlon opening the scoring after a strong lineout maul.
A break from Hugh Gavin almost saw Connacht hit back instantly, only for excellent scramble defence from Leinster.
Incisive interplay between Hugo McLaughlin and Tadhg Brophy saw the team in blue add to their lead shortly after, with the scrumhalf touching down.
The away side then built on their lead before halftime, with Sean Naughton converting his own try, before Conor Tonge showed excellent footwork to finish under the posts.
Leinster went into the break with a 28-0 lead.
Shortly after half-time, Tonge added another, before Connacht got their only try of the game. It came after a brilliant break from Tomas Farthing set Hugh Gavin on his way.
The scoreline was 35-7 at this point, with Connacht showing a much-improved performance in the opening 15 minutes of the second half.
However, Leinster managed to get back into their rhythm, adding further tries with another through Tadhg Brophy, Luke Policky and Stephen Smyth.