23 Apr 14
Clonakilty and Highfield Under 18's will go head to head on Saturday, 26th April at Wilton, Cork (kick-off 2.45) in the South Munster Under 18 Cup Final.
In the Under 19 game, Leinster racked up 12 points to Munster's 7 in the first half. Despite having most of the possession, Munster's final passing was not going to hand, unlike Leinster's whose back-line moves were well-rehearsed and fluid. Munster missed 3 reasonable penalties and dropped a ball over the try line all in the course of the first half. Leinster were very impressive on the ball, but were up against some solid Munster tackling, making the first half a hard-fought battle on all fronts.
Leinster led 12 - 7 going into the break and scored again just 10 minutes into the second half from a clean lineout ball, which they failed to convert. Munster answered with a penalty kick outside the 22 to bring the score to 17 - 10. Leinster rallied with some blistering runs by their back line, showing speed, good ball-handling skills and communication. Only fearless tackling from the Munster backs prevented two almost certain tries.
After two attempts at a Leinster scrum, the referee awarded Munster a free kick, which they took quickly and rushed the Leinster defence and try line. A yellow card was shown to the Leinster scrum half, Peter du Toit, for infringement at the breakdown right on the try line, and a penalty, but no penalty try, was awarded.
From the resultant line out, Munster Captain Patrick Butler, gathered the ball and mauled and heaved the ball over the line for a hard-won try. With only a few minutes to go, Munster missed the conversion and Leinster pushed again for a score with fast passes out the back line. Again, ferocious tackling by the Munster defence prevented a near certain try from the Leinster backs. A drop goal attempt by Leinster fell so closely short that the crowd and referee initially called a score. A 22 drop out for Munster restored the balance and Munster ran and tackled their way back into Leinster's 22. Following a penalty for offside, Munster's first centre, Kevin Kidney, slotted the ball between the posts to seal a win for Munster with the last kick of the game. A final score of 18 - 17 to Munster accurately reflects the closeness of the game, and there will be some sore bodies on buses up and down the country tonight.
Overall the skill levels on the ball and in the set piece were impressive, which bodes well for the future of Irish rugby.