Cruelly denied a win by a last ditch flurry of Leinster activity last weekend, Ulster land in Galway on Saturday for the three v four interpro playoff. 

While Leinster and Munster with two wins apiece are the only title contenders this year, pride will no doubt prove a formidable factor at the Sportsground.

Alison Miller Munster350Ulster, four points adrift of 2011 champions Leinster at fulltime, are stinging still. Connacht, by contrast, have managed a solitary penalty goal this winter (last week, v Munster) but showed plenty of mettle against Leinster in week one.

Coach Dave O’Brien has been impressed throughout the preparation and was pleased with the first half showing against Leinster, however, he is yet to see that flair for prolonged periods. 

He’s hoping for fireworks this weekend.

Possessing a front row to rival any Connacht has fielded in the last decade, a halves combination not far off international standard, and plenty of cover from 12-15, it certainly points to a Battle Royale on College Road at 2pm <x-apple-data-detectors://0> .

With nothing to lose, this match will likely hang on taking opportunities in the first and final several minutes of the match, and making opportunities in between.

Clare Bracken350Grace Davitt for Ulster and Clare Raftery opposite at 10 comprise the two smartest tactical kickers in the country. Making opportunities as far as territory goes rests largely on their shoulders.

Inside them are Imogen Porter (Ulster) and Sorcha Ni Chadhain – both equally adept at bossing about their respective heavies.

 Out wide Ulster boasts two internationals in Ashleigh Baxter and Nikki Caughey, the pair is well-matched by Connacht captain and Six Nations and sevens star Ali Miller.

 Connacht won the last homeground fixture in 2010 but Ulster will travel with bragging rights pipping them in Ballymoney last winter, 2011.


Connacht Emerging Talent squad named for game against Leinster North Midlands