Munster U18 Sides Suffer Narrow Defeats To Ulster
30th August 2021 By The Editor
Both Munster U18 Clubs and Munster U18 Schools suffered narrow defeats to their Ulster counterparts on the second weekend of the IRFU Interprovincial Championship.
Both sides took on Ulster on Saturday at the IRFU’s High Performance Centre in Abbotstown with Munster U18 Schools falling to a 22-15 defeat and the Munster U18 Clubs falling to a 17-14 defeat.
IRFU U18 Men’s Schools Interprovincial Championship Round 2
Ulster U18 Schools 22 Munster U18 Schools 15
By Daire Walsh
The Ulster Under-18 Schools team produced a late flourish at the IRFU High Performance Centre to earn a 22-15 win over Munster in a spirited PwC IRFU U-18 Schools Interprovincial clash.
Trailing 15-14 inside the dying minutes, Jonathan Gillespie’s Ulster side edged in front courtesy of a superb try from openside flanker Josh Stevens.
Scrum half Jonny McCracken subsequently tagged on a penalty to ensure that Munster were kept at bay.
Stevens’ back row colleagues, Flynn Longstaff and James Anderson, also crossed the whitewash, while out-half Tristan Ferguson contributed a brace of conversions.
From a Munster perspective, captain Jacob Sheehan and Aidan Ryan scored a try each to supplement a five-point kicking contribution from Gavin Rowsome.
Playing in humid conditions, both teams began this first round contest with ferocious attacking intent. Peter Symington attempted to play in Castletroy College winger Ryan with a delicate kick, but it drifted into touch.
However, it was Munster who duly broke the deadlock in the fourth minute, Sheehan picking up possession inside the Ulster 22 and powering over in the right corner.
Rowsome fired his conversion past the post from a tricky angle and the young Reds’ lead proved to be a short-lived one.
After Campbell College’s Lukas Kenny was held up by the retreating Munster defence, his school-mate Longstaff used his considerable strength to break through for a try on eight minutes.
Ferguson converted to move Ulster ahead at 7-5, their confidence levels on the rise as they proceeded to dominate possession for the remainder of the opening quarter.
Kenny looked set to extend their lead with a 16th minute try, but the final pass towards the winger was adjudged to have gone forward.
Following this let-off, the Munster Schools outfit started to build inside the opposition half once again and were back in front courtesy of Rowsome’s penalty on the 20-minute mark.
His perfectly-weighted effort preceded the first water break, which did seem to take the sting out of the play for the rest of the opening period.
Munster did lose number 8 Jack Ryan to the sin bin just before the interval but, in his absence, they held firm to bring an 8-7 advantage into the second half.
Despite their temporary numerical deficiency, Noel O’Meara’s charges were in blistering form on the resumption.
An outstanding run from full-back Stephen Kiely presented them with an ideal attacking platform and – after the ball had been recycled to the right flank – his Castletroy team-mate Ryan was on cue to touch down in clinical fashion.
Rowsome’s well-judged conversion stretched the gap between the two teams, but Ulster’s response to this setback was just as impressive.
Latching onto the ball deep inside the Munster half, blindside Anderson raced over to the left of the posts. Ferguson split the uprights to reduce the gap to a bare minimum (15-14) and set up a fascinating finish to the game.
Clear-cut try-scoring opportunities were at a premium during the closing stages, even allowing for the fresh legs off the respective benches.
Munster were diligent in defence and seemed set to hold out until Stevens dotted down off an extended set piece move.
Returning to the field as a blood replacement for Tom Crowther, McCracken sealed Ulster’s triumph with a sweetly-struck penalty from the right.
MUNSTER U-18 SCHOOLS: Stephen Kiely (Castletroy College); Aidan Ryan (Castletroy College), Peter Symington (Bandon Grammar School), Harry Long (Ardscoil Rís), Sean Condon (PBC Cork); Gavin Rowsome (Castletroy College), Jake O’Riordan (St. Munchin’s College); Rory Doody (Cistercian College Roscrea), Danny Sheahan (PBC Cork), Michael Long (Rockwell College), Jacob Sheehan (PBC Cork) (capt), Evan O’Connell (Castletroy College); Dawid Novak (CBC Cork), Kamil Novak (CBC Cork), Jack Ryan (Rockwell College).
Replacements: Adam Wrona (CBC Cork), Sam Loftus (CBC Cork), Harry Foster (CBC Cork), Joseph Coffey (Cistercian College Roscrea), Cillian Kelly (Crescent College Comprehensive), Cillian O’Connor (St. Munchin’s College), Jack Casey (CBC Cork), Matthew O’Callaghan (CBC Cork).
ULSTER U-18 SCHOOLS: Conor Drain (Ballymena Academy); Harry Hughes (Coleraine GS), Ryan Stewart (RBAI), Matthew Booth (Campbell College), Lukas Kenny (Campbell College); Tristan Ferguson (Cambridge House), Jonny McCracken (Campbell College); Reece Braden (Omagh Academy), Jake Bowden (Methodist College), Jacob Boyd (RBAI), Joe Hopes (Campbell College), Patrick Fullarton-Healey (Methodist College) (capt), James Anderson (RS Armagh), Josh Stevens (Methodist College), Flynn Longstaff (Campbell College).
Replacements: Sam Anderson (RS Armagh), Chris Massey (Campbell College Belfast), Josh Hanna (Wallace HS), Andrew Chesney (Ballymena Academy), Callum Simms (RBAI), Ben McFarlane (Methodist College), Tom Crowther (Campbell College), Alex McBurney (Ballymena Academy), Ben King (Ballymena Academy).
IRFU U18 Men’s Clubs Interprovincial Championship Round 2
Ulster U18 Clubs 17 Munster U18 Clubs 14
By Daire Walsh
The Ulster Under-18 Clubs held off a late fightback from Munster at the IRFU High Performance Centre to take the spoils – 17-14 – in a tense PwC Interprovincial encounter.
Courtesy of well-worked tries from Ben Gibson, Ethan Graham and Clarke Logan, the Ulster youngsters led 17-7 with an hour gone on the clock.
Munster fought until the bitter end, however, with replacement Frankie Gillane touching down for his side’s second five-pointer of the game.
Jimi Fenton’s successful conversion increased the possibility of Noel O’Meara’s side pulling off a dramatic triumph, but Ulster stood firm in the end.
It means the Ulster U-18 Clubs team have put together back-to-back wins, following on from last Sunday’s 34-24 bonus point victory over Connacht at Energia Park.
It was a bumper day for Ulster Rugby at the IRFU HPC as they went two-from-two against their Munster counterparts, with the Clubs team following in the footsteps of the Schools side.
After an initially tentative opening, in-form Bangor out-half Gibson cut through the heart of the Munster defence and dotted down in ruthless style on the right wing.
Although he could not convert his third try of the tournament, this was the perfect start to the proceedings for Daryl Maxwell’s squad.
Still, the Munster Clubs selection had already showcased their attacking qualities, and they squeezed ahead in the twelfth minute.
Despite intense pressure from the Ulster defence, full-back Conall Doyle did just enough to cross the whitewash, getting the ball down despite the best efforts of Zach Scarlett.
Rugbaí Chorca Dhuibhne place-kicker Fenton supplied the extras, ensuring Munster were 7-5 to the good in advance of the first water break.
Ulster had found themselves on the back foot for an prolonged period, but the dynamic Graham managed to restored their lead on 24 minutes.
The Monaghan RFC starlet used his devastating pace to good effect, before kicking the ball towards the left corner. The Munster rearguard tried to deny him, but Graham got to the ball just in time to add try number two.
Even though Gibson fired past the target from a tricky angle, Ulster went into the interval armed with a 10-7 buffer.
Both teams had their share of possession on the restart, but a succession of errors and turnovers made it difficult for either of them to create sustained momentum.
Nonetheless, there was a sense that there were further scores to come and so it proved.
Just moments after Bantry Bay’s Jack Ward had come up just short in his quest for a Munster try, Ulster’s replacement scrum half Logan spotted a gap, amid a multi-phase attack, and finished clinically from close range.
Gibson’s conversion gave Ulster a 10-point advantage, but the final outcome was not yet beyond doubt as Munster had more in the tank.
Having established a firm foothold deep inside the opposition 22, O’Meara’s charges spread the ball across the pitch where Waterford City’s Gillane was on hand to score a 69th-minute try.
There was still time for Munster to conjure up a match-winning score, after Fenton found the range from his latest kick at goal, but Ulster dug deep to make it a double success for their U-18 teams.
MUNSTER U-18 CLUBS: Conall Doyle (Youghal RFC); Kieran Kennedy (Waterford City RFC), Paul Graham (Kinsale RFC) (capt), Lukas Hagermark (Cork Constitution FC), Craig Riordan (St. Senan’s RFC); Jimi Fenton (Rugbaí Chorca Dhuibhne), Kyle Read (Midleton RFC); Jack Ward (Bantry Bay RFC), Shaughan Hanrahan (Garryowen FC), Adam Cunningham (Clonmel RFC), Adam Sheahan (Skibbereen RFC), Oluwanifemi Giwa (Cashel RFC), Darragh Burns (Kilrush RFC), Eoghan McKay (Sunday’s Well RFC), Sean Edogbo (Cobh Pirates RFC).
Replacements: Donnacha Morrissey (Kilrush RFC), Adam McMahon (Garryowen FC), Tiernan O’Connell (Midleton RFC), Eoghan Cawley (Skibbereen RFC), Ben Murphy (Cobh Pirates RFC), Sean O’Dwyer (Bruff RFC), Luca Cleary (Ennis RFC), Frankie Gillane (Waterford City RFC).
ULSTER U-18 CLUBS: Ethan Graham (Monaghan RFC); Zach Scarlett (Ballyclare HS/Ballyclare RFC), James Girvan (RS Dungannon/Dungannon RFC), Michael Burnett (City of Armagh RFC) (capt), Nathan Hook (Dromore HS/Dromore RFC); Ben Gibson (Bangor Grammar School/Bangor RFC), Oliver Smyth (BRA/Academy RFC); Nathan Ogborne (Coleraine GS/Ballymoney RFC), Sam Green (Malone RFC), Tom McAllister (Ballyclare HS/Ballyclare RFC), Luke McIlwrath (Ballyclare HS/Ballyclare RFC), Mark Lee (Rainey Old Boys RFC), Jamie Jackson (Portadown College/Portadown RFC), James Spence (Ballyclare HS/Ballyclare RFC), James McKillop (Foyle College/City of Derry RFC).
Replacements: James McCammon (RS Dungannon/Dungannon RFC), Blake McClean (RBAI), Stephen Callaghan (Inishowen RFC), Ruairi Doyle (Friend’s School/Lisburn RFC), Tom Muldrew (Sullivan Upper/Malone RFC), Clark Logan (Coleraine GS/Coleraine RFC), Jordan McCauley (Coleraine GS/Ballymoney RFC), Leon Thornton (Malone RFC).