U19s claim dramatic last-minute win over Ulster

20 August 2023

U19s claim dramatic last-minute win over Ulster

CONNACHT U19s 22 – 20 ULSTER U19s

A conversion from Oisín O’Neill with the last kick of the game gave the Connacht U19s, sponsored by ATU, a dramatic 22-20 win over Ulster in the first round of the U19 Interprovincial Championship.

Both sides took to the pitch brimming with energy in blustery but sunny conditions. In a similar start to the U18s match, Ulster put the first points on the board with a converted penalty by their number 10, Jordan McAuley after 5 minutes to make it 3-0. Again, Ulster were the team to put the next points on the scoreboard with a try after 12 minutes to make it 10-0. Could the Connacht U19s find their momentum and make the comeback their U18 counterparts did? Contrary to the U18s game, this game was disjointed with lots of handling errors and penalties given away by both sides, meaning that neither side found a rhythm the rest of the first half. A yellow card for Connacht’s number 1, Arann Platt saw the home side down to 14 players. However, they rose to the occasion, stealing the Ulster lineout on their own 5m line and winning a penalty.

Being down to 14 players forced Connacht to focus and play hard defence, and suddenly they saw themselves winning multiple penalties in a row and working their way into the Ulster half. It was now Ulster number 6, Ryan Connolly’s turn to see a yellow card in the 31st minute and now the numbers were even again. After more chances at a try for Connacht, their effort pays off and their vice-captain Tomas Farthing (number 9) smartly saw a gap off a scrum and carried the ball himself over the try line just before halftime. The conversion into the wind by number 10, Oisin O'Neill saw a scoreline of 10-7 at halftime.

Connacht came out firing after halftime and scored a try one minute into the second half when number 7, captain Patrick Flannery found a gap in the Ulster defence and powered over the try line, despite the Ulster defenders’ best efforts. A thrilling start to the second half saw Connacht take the lead 12-10. Seven minutes later, Connacht won a penalty and Oisin O'Neill once again slotted the ball between the posts to give Connacht a 5 point lead. Ulster respond with a converted penalty of their own after 14 minutes by their number 10, Jordan McAuley bridging the gap to only two points between the sides.

Ulster found themselves on the Connacht 5m line and despite team efforts, the ball was held up over the line by Connacht who showed another bit of great defending. A kick by Ulster number 15, Sean McKay on the wing and a missed catch by a Connacht defender lead to Ulster inside the Connacht 22. Ulster were still on the attack and when their number 12, Jonny Scott got the ball, he placed a gorgeous leading kick through the Connacht defence for his wing number 14, James Hillman who was there to collect it and ground it in the try zone. A conversion saw Ulster lead 20-15 after 26 minutes. A chance for Connacht came when number 11, Orin Burke (an impressive player all game) blocked down a kick by Ulster’s number 9 within the Ulster 22m line, but Ulster won a penalty.

The minutes were ticking down and Ulster were constantly pressing Connacht in their half, forcing them to play intense defence and once again, forcing errors. Both sides were excellent at holding up the ball over the try line to keep possible tries to a minimum. Just when the crowd thought the game was over, Connacht’s number 23, Gerard Murtagh broke through the Ulster defence and streaks up the far wing for a last-minute try. With the game tied up at 20-20, the conversion by Oisin O'Neill was the last play of the game. A tough kick with the wind, it was initially missed, but a retake was awarded after Ulster ran off their line too early. O’Neill made no mistake the second time, impressively putting the ball between the posts. The whistle sounded and the Connacht team stormed the pitch in celebration of their win. A performance that both sides can look back at and build on, but a victory for the home side, nonetheless. Final score: 22-20 to Connacht.


Squad List

Saturday 19th August, 15:00 @ Sportsground



15. Cian Brady (Monivea RFC/Colaiste an Eachreidh)

14. Harry Duffy (Galwegians RFC/Yeats College)

13. Stefan Roche (Sligo RFC/Summerhill College)

12. Caden Grant (Corinthians RFC/St.Joseph's Patrician College)

11. Orin Burke (Monivea RFC/Presentation College Athenry)

10. Oisin O'Neill (Sligo RFC/Summerhill College)

9. Tomas Farthing V/C (Corinthians RFC/Colaiste Chroí Mhuire)

1. Arann Platt (Sligo RFC/Sligo Grammar)

2. Sean Rohan (Buccaeneers RFC/CBS Roscommon)

3. George Ukwuoma (Galwegians RFC)

4. Blayze Molloy (Ballina RFC/Clongowes Wood College)

5. Charlie Coghlan (Clontarf RFC/Belvedere College)

6. Patrick Egan (Buccaneers RFC/Marist College)

7. Patrick Flannery C (Corinthians RFC/Colaiste Chroí Mhuire)

8. Bobby Power (Galwgians RFC/Colaiste Iognaid)


16. Ryan Smith (Corrib RFC/Presentation College Headford)

17. Sean Hopkins (Ballina RFC/St.Muredachs College)

18. Finian Murray (Monivea RFC/ Holy Rosary College)

19. Dylan McCloat (Sligo RFC/Sligo Grammar)

20. Niall Tallon (Buccaneers RFC/Marist College)

21. Conall Gill (Westport RFC/Rice College)

22. Sean Power (Ballinasloe RFC/Garbally College)

23. Gerard Murtagh (Sligo RFC/Sligo Grammar)

24. Daniel Noone (Claremorris RFC/St.Coleman's College)

25. Shay Philips (Corinthians RFC/Colaiste Einde)

26. Ruairi Keogh (Monivea RFC/Colaiste an Chlairín)

27. Max Flynn (Corinthians RFC/Cistercian College Roscrea)

28. Ben Donnelly (Corrib RFC)

29. Eoin Geraghty (Monivea RFC/Coláiste Bhaile Chláir)

30. Patrick Flannelly (Castlebar RFC/St.Gerald's College DLS)


Head Coach: Morgan Codyre

Assistant Coach: Tom McKeown

Development Coach: Gary Lally

S&C Coach: David Hughes

Physioterapist: Joe Smyth

Team Manager: Derek Carlin

Squad list - Ulster


15. Sean McKay (Ballymena Ac)

14. James Hillman (RBAI)

13. Tim Deering (Skerries RFC)

12. Jonny Scott (Dromore HS)

11. Rory Fulton (Sullivan US)

10. Jordan McAuley (Coleraine GS)

9. Clark Logan (Coleraine GS)

1. Joshua Hanna (Wallace HS)

2. Callum Mustoe (Ballymena Ac)

3. Tom McAllister (C) (Ballyclare HS)

4. Alex Brennan (CCB)

5. Daniel Moore (RBAI)

6. Ryan Connolly (Down HS)

7. Finn Fehnert (RS Armagh)

8. Ryan Kidd (MCB)


16. Will Alexander (CCB)

17. Ryan McNeil (Wesley College)

18. Matthew McQuiston (BRA)

19. Billy Allen (Rainey Endowed)

20. Livai Naga (Dromore HS)

21. Olliver Smyth (BRA)

22. Harry McKeown (Sullivan US)

23. Ben Neely (Coleraine RFC)