Underage Interpro Round-Up
8th October 2016 By Munster Rugby
The underage Interprovincials came to an end last weekend with the five Munster sides making further strides in their development.
The Munster U18 Clubs claimed the Interprovincial title for the first time in 13 years with three of the other four sides just missing out in Interpro deciders.
This season also saw a Munster U18 Girls team participate in the first Interprovincial series at that level. The senior Munster Women's side will be playing their series in December.
Munster U20/Development Season
The Munster U20 and Development side, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, overcame an 18-0 half-time deficit to beat Ulster 21-18 in their Thomond Park opener. Captain Colm Hogan led from example as the full-back, formerly at Glenstal Abbey and now with Dublin University, touched down twice in the second half with flanker Gavin Coombes also crossing. Out-half Conor Fitzgerald kicked all three conversions to clinch a superb victory.
Leinster took the title after a clinical second-half display as Munster fell to a 39-16 defeat in Donnybrook in the decider. Munster were leading 9-7 shortly before half-time thanks to three penalties from Young Munster's Alan Tynan but a Jordan Lamour try just before the break gave Leinster a 12-9 advantage. After a tight opening 15 minutes of the second half that saw Leinster increase their lead thanks to a Conor Dean penalty, the crucial moments came just before the hour as two tries in three minutes saw the hosts race 27-9 ahead. Replacement prop Liam O'Connor crossed from short range to give Munster a glimmer of hope on 73 minutes as the visitors trailed by 12 points but two late tries from Leinster sealed the title for the hosts.
The U19s, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, beat Connacht 35-0 in their Interpro opener at Thomond Park. Three tries in the first half from James Taylor, Jack O'Sullivan and Peter Sylvester laid the foundations for the win with Taylor accurate with the conversions as Munster led 21-0 at the break. Further scores from Aaron Rice and Daniel Hurley made sure of the victory with Taylor again on target with both conversions.
That was followed by a 15-13 loss to Ulster at CIT. Two James Taylor penalties had Munster 6-5 ahead at half-time but the visitors were the stronger side in the second half with Jack O'Sullivan's late try, converted by David McCarthy, not enough for Munster.
The final game, against Leinster, also ended in defeat (20-9). Taylor kicked three first-half penalties as Munster led 9-6 at the break but Leinster scored two converted tries in the second half to seal the win as Ulster took the title.
The Munster U19 squad were presented with their ties and jerseys by Francis Saili at Thomond Park.
U18 Clubs – Interpro Champions
The Munster U18 Clubs side, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, made an excellent start to their campaign as they emerged with a 19-14 win away in Ulster. Hosts Ulster were 14-3 up after a dominant first-half performance with Munster's only score coming from an early Conor Hayes penalty. But tries from Hayes and Derry Gleeson, along with two Harry Byrne penalties completed a magnificent turnaround.
They followed that up with a first win over Leinster at this level in eight years (15-3). Tries from captain Evan O'Gorman and Ikem Ugwuru, a Byrne conversion, and a Hayes penalty secured the win.
And Munster claimed the for the first time in 13 years thanks to a 35-17 win over Connacht at The Sportsground.
Derry Gleeson, Nick O'Donoghue, Evan O'Gorman, Tom Hanley and Ikem Ugwuru were the try-scorers as Byrne kicked two conversions and Hayes landed two penalties.
The Munster U18 Schools team, sponsored by Trend Micro, got off to a winning start, beating Ulster 18-15 at Pirrie Park. Daniel Feasey and replacement Finn Burke were the try-scorers as Ben Healy kicked a conversion and two penalties.
They made it two wins from two at Thomond Park thanks to an 8-3 victory over reigning champions Leinster that saw them lift the Dudley Cup, introduced this year in recognition of the late former Munster Schools Honorary Secretary Dudley Herbert. Ben Moloney's try and a Healy penalty secured the win.
A 19-13 win over Ulster in CIT followed with the Munster tries coming from Sean French (two) and Travis Coomey as Healy kicked two of the conversions and was unlucky to see his other effort come back off the post.
The campaign ended with a 15-13 defeat away to Leinster to tie both teams at the top of the table with three wins from four and 13 points apiece. The destination of the title was then decided by points difference from the four games with Leinster coming out on top by just a single point to snatch the Interprovincial honours. Healy kicked two penalties and a conversion on the day as Paul Clancy scored Munster's only try.
Munster U18 Girls
The Munster U18 Girls started their inaugural Interprovincial campaign with a 33-7 win over Connacht at Ballincollig RFC. Aisling Brosnan, Emily Lane, Hayley Betts, Stephanie Nunan and Enya Breen touched down with Breen adding four conversions.
A scoreless draw away to Leinster set up an Interpro decider against Ulster in Dublin. The northern province came out on top after a 20-8 win, however, with Breen kicking a penalty and Nunan touching down.
In previous years, these games had been played in a blitz-like format for developmental purposes, however with growth in numbers and profile of the female game in Ireland, the IRFU made the decision to move to a full Interprovincial Series for the U18 girls.
Hear from some of the players and coaches of the U18 Girls' teams below.
Underage Interprovincial Results 2016
Munster Combined U20 & Development Squad
Friday, 9th September, Munster 21-18 Ulster, Thomond Park
Friday, 16th September, Leinster 39-16 Munster, Donnybrook
Saturday, 3rd September, Munster 35-0 Connacht, Thomond Park
Saturday, 10th September, Munster 13-15 Ulster, CIT
Saturday, 17th September, Leinster 20-9 Munster, Anglesea Road
Munster U18 Clubs – Interpro Champions
Saturday, 3rd September, Ulster 14-19 Munster, Rainey Old Boys RFC
Sunday, 11th September, Munster 15-3 Leinster, Thomond Park
Saturday, 17th September, Connacht 17-35 Munster, The Sportsground
Munster U18 Schools
Friday, 26th August, Ulster 15-18 Munster, Pirrie Park
Tuesday, 30th August, Munster 8-3 Leinster, Thomond Park
Saturday, 10th September, Munster 19-13 Ulster, CIT
Saturday, 24th September, Leinster 15-13 Munster, Donnybrook
Munster U18 Girls
Saturday, 17th September, Munster 33-7 Connacht, Ballincollig RFC
Saturday, 24th September, Leinster 0-0 Munster, Seapoint RFC
Saturday, 1st October, Munster 8-20 Ulster, Westmanstown RFC