Leinster 13 Munster 19
(HT score Leinster 3 Munster 9)
The Munster Junior team kicked off the Interprovincial Series on Saturday with a 19-13 win over a fancied Leinster side. With fourteen new players added to the squad this year, Munster fielded a new look side and came away with a hard fought victory in what was a gruelling encounter at the Garda Club in Dublin.
Playing in humid conditions, it was Munster who put the first points on the board with a 6th minute penalty from Cobh Pirates Brendan Ronan at outhalf. Six minutes later he struck again, giving Munster a 6-0 lead before Leinster came back with a 21st minute penalty from Niall Kirby. Just before the half hour mark, Ronan was on target once again giving Munster a 9-3 lead at half time.
After the restart, with Munster reduced to thirteen men due to two yellow cards awarded just before half time, Leinster came within one point of Munster with Owen Murphy going over for the first try of the match, with Niall Kirby adding the conversion. Youghal centre Robbie Doyle responded with a try which was converted by Ronan to stretch Munster s lead once again. Niall Kirby added another penalty to his tally in the 70th minute to bring Leinster within three points of Munster. Brendan Ronan added another penalty in the 75th minute, but only a try saving tackle from Kilfeacle and District s Pierce Breen in the last moments of the game prevented Leinster from scoring, and Munster held on to claim the victory.
In a tense yet highly competitive game, the victory will no doubt give Munster plenty of confidence ahead of next week s game against defending champions Ulster. With fantastic performances all over the field, the pack performed exceptionally well, with Kilfeacle and District s Jack O Sullivan and the front row of Roy McArdle (Youghal), Timmy O Callaghan (Bandon) and Toss Stapleton (Thurles) standing out. Elsewhere, outhalf Brendan Ronan had an outstanding game, working very well with his half back partner Colm Murphy of Ennis
The promotion of Nenagh Ormond to Senior status at the end of last year has paved the way for a number of new players to make their mark. Fourteen of the twenty two players named to play Leinster are new to the squad this year. In all, eleven clubs throughout Munster are represented in the squad, with four players each from Cashel and Kilfeacle & District, three from Cobh Pirates, two each from Youghal, Thurles and Old Christians and one player each from Bandon, Ennis, St. Mary s, Crosshaven and Kinsale. Training since the end of July in Mallow RFC, the squad have played warm up matches against Nenagh Ormond and Thomond.
The squad is coached by the vastly experienced Kevin O Dwyer from Thurles, who has been at the helm for over a decade, with Bandon s Ricky O Sullivan assisting. The selection team consists of Chairman Liam Lehane from Ballincollig RFC, Christy McNamara from St. Mary s RFC and Tony Daley from Kanturk.
Munster will play Ulster in Dungarvan on September 3rd. The final game is against Connacht on September 10th in Kinsale.
Munster Junior Team v Leinster
15. Trevor Breen (Cashel), 14. Jamie English (Kilfeacle & District), 13. Robbie Doyle (Youghal), 12. Diarmuid O Connor (Cashel), 11. Roddy Jefferson (Cobh Pirates), 10. Brendan Ronan (Cobh Pirates), 9. Colm Murphy (Ennis), 1. Roy McArdle (Youghal), 2. Timmy O Callaghan (Bandon), 3. Toss Stapleton (Thurles), 4. Fergal McCormack (Old Christians), 5. Mark Shorley (Thurles), 6. Edmond Leamy (Cashel), 7. Pierce Breen (Kilfeacle & District), 8. Jack O Sullivan (Kilfeacle & District)
Replacements Used: 17. Eugene Payne (St. Mary s) for Timmy O Callaghan, 19. Shane Flavin (Kilfeacle & District) for Edmund Leamy,
Not used: Paul McGrath (Old Christians), Paul Memery (Crosshaven), Ollie McGlinchey (Cashel), Colm McCarthy (Kinsale), Eamonn Ronan (Cobh Pirates)
Saturday 3rd September 2005
MUNSTER v ULSTER, Dungarvan RFC, 2.30pm
Saturday 10th September 2005
MUNSTER v CONNACHT, Kinsale RFC, 2.30pm