Ulster: (5) 17
TRY: Conor Kelly, Lewis McNamara, Liam Free. CON: Andrew Magrath
Munster (8) 18
TRY: Dave O’Mahoney, A.N.Other. CON: Dave O’Mahoney. PEN: Dave O’Mahoney (2)
Ulster U20’s threw away a chance to open their defence of the Inter Provincial title with a win going down 17 – 18 to Munster U20’s at the Queen’s Arena yesterday evening.
The youngster’s only have themselves to blame as they were on top for most of this match but a succession of first half penalties and a total of three yellow cards kept the visitors in the game.
Munster opened the scoring with 5th minute penalty by full back Dave O’Mahoney but for the next thirty minutes the home side dominated proceedings.
Captain Adam McBurney led the way with some typically robust drives and the centre paring of Kieran Joyce and Alex Kane combined well, with Kane looking particularly dangerous. Unfortunately a surfeit of penalties at the breakdown provided Munster with plenty of opportunities to clear and two missed penalties from Ulster’s full back Robert Lyttle left the scoreboard untroubled until the 35th minute.
An unfortunate yellow card for a failed interception left Ulster a man down and, somewhat against the run of play, the visitors went further ahead with a rare counter attack leaving the Ulster defence in tatters. A huge gap opened out left and O’Mahoney duly trotted through for an unconverted try to give Munster an eight point lead.
Ulster needed to respond and respond they did, with a series of drives leaving Conor Kelly in space out wide. He still a bit of work to do but he made it into the corner for an unconverted try to take the half time score to Ulster 5 Munster 8.
I fully expected Ulster to push on for a comfortable win in the second half but indiscipline and lack of composure continued to cost as the Munster pack began to get on top. The visitors best period was topped with a push over try in the 54th minute. O’Mahoney added the extras and Munster led 5 – 15.
A second yellow card almost put Ulster further behind, as the resultant penalty ricocheted across the front of the posts, but Ulster managed to clear and gradually worked their way up field for a 5 meter line out. The catch and drive was successful with wing forward Lewis McNamara touching down at the back of the maul with ten minutes left. Out half Andrew Magrath slotted over the conversion to make it a three point game with the scoreboard reading Ulster 12 Munster 15.
Munster pushed it out to six points minutes later, with their second penalty, setting up a frenetic finish from the home side. A break by Joyce set up another 5 meter line out in the closing minutes and despite driving infield for the score, by Matthew Fisher, it remained unconverted leaving Munster with a one point lead.
There was still time for a third yellow card for Ulster but no further scores leaving the visitors celebrating at the final whistle!
Ulster: Robert Lyttle, Conor Kelly, Alex Kane, Kieran Joyce, Jonny Rosborough, Andrew Magrath, Liam Free, Ben Halliday, Adam McBurney, Peter Cooper, Harry Cleland, Hugh Sloan, Conall Boomer, Lewis McNamara, Matthew Fisher. Replacements: Tristan King, Andrew Shaw, Rory Squires, Ronan McCusker, Saul Herdman, Chris Gibson, Matthew McDowell, Matthew Hooks.
Munster: Dave O’Mahoney, Colm Hogan, Paul Kiernan, James McAlleese, Lee Molloy, Bill Johnston, John Poland, Peter Mayer, Shane Fenton, Ben Betts, Sean O’Leary, Barra O’Byrne, Kelvin Browne, Dan Walsh, John Foley. Replacements: Jordan Prenderville, Shane O’Hanlon, Rob O’Donovan, Pat Staff, Ronan Murphy, Johnny Glynn, Tom McHale, James O’Connor.