The Leinster Under-18 Schools team, sponsored by Newstalk, were too good for great rivals Munster in the first game of the Schools interprovincial Championship which the hosts won 28-14 in a gripping game at Donnybrook on Saturday…
Leinster meant business right from the start, openside Will Connors’ soft hands setting prop Eoghan Byrne trampling forward down the left. Munster’s seven Tommy Anglim and captain Paul Kiernan had to put in big hits to stop their momentum.
An indiscretion at ruck time was spotted by referee Mark Patton and Leinster centre Matthew Gilsenan goaled from the left for 3-0 in the fourth minute.
The Munster scrum won a strike against the head and captain Kiernan made another telling tackle for a turnover to gain territory. The Leinster defence dealt well with the attacks generated by slick scrum-half Ben Riley.
Then, Connors was put through a hole by his scrum-half David Duggan and he found the speedy James Ryan at his shoulder for the opening try in the 14th minute.
Munster did not take this lying down, working a nice move around the back of a lineout until flanker Anglim got isolated and Leinster hooker Jonny Molony forced a penalty on the floor.
The home side looked the better equipped in attack, full-back Jack Power rocketing forward from deep, while Munster’s work at the breakdown was efficient, number eight Kelvin Browne and fly-half Bill Johnston forcing penalties.
Full-back Power went on the attack again and the recycle enabled fly-half Jimmy O’Brien to break free, only halted by a tap tackle by flanker Ronan Murphy, But, right wing Con Callan was there in support for try number two in the 28th minute.
It didn’t get any better for Munster when Anglim was binned for offside at a scrum. This was an unnecessary decision that only hurt the quality of the fare as Leinster held on for a 13-0 lead at the break.
Leinster went straight back onto the front-foot, wing Tim Carroll and centre Colm Mulcahy making significant inroads, causing Munster to infringe. Gilsenan knocked over the penalty in the 40th minute.
Soon, captain Ryan’s delightful offload started a swift attack beautifully finished off by Callan in the right corner. Gilsenan connected for two more points and full-back Power got on the end of the fourth try.
Munster’s resolve in defence was given reward in attack by number eight Kelvin Browne’s choice to dive over a ruck for a try, converted by out-half Bill Johnston, and full-back Dave O’Mahony cut through for their second, again converted by Johnston, in the 68th minute.
15: Jack Power (Blackrock)
14: Con Callan (St Gerard’s) / James Lappin (Clongowes Wood)
13: Colm Mulcahy (Clongowes Wood)
12: Matthew Gilsenan (St Michael’s)
11: Tim Carroll (Cistercian Roscrea)
10: Jimmy O’Brien (Newbridge) / Tim Foley (Cistercian Roscrea) 68 mins
9: David Duggan (St Michael’s) / Dan Lavelle (Cistercian Roscrea) 61 mins
1: Eoghan Byrne (Gonzaga) / James Bollard (St Michael’s) 55 mins
2: Jonny Molony (Clongowes Wood) / Hugo Keane (Blackrock) 52 mins
3: Sean O’Hare (Castleknock)
4: Rob Lalor (Terenure) / Martin Mulhall (Kilkenny) 66 mins
5: James Ryan (St Michael’s College) CAPTAIN
6: Charlie Cregan (St Michael’s)
7: Will Connors (Clongowes Wood) / Michael Melia (Terenure) 57 mins
8: Greg Jones (St Andrew’s) / Max Deegan (St Michael’s) 52 mins
15: Dave O’Mahony (Ardscoil Ris)
14: Alan McMahon (Rockwell College) / Gary O’Sullivan (Crescent College) 53 mins
13: Calvin Nash (Crescent College)
12: Paul Kiernan (PBC) CAPTAIN
11: Willie Coffey (Rockwell College)
10: Bill Johnston (Rockwell College)
9: Ben Riley (Rockwell College) / John Poland (PBC) 44 mins
1: Joe Ring (PBC) / Peter Meyer (St Munchin’s College) 66 mins
2: Shane Fenton (Ardscoil Ris)
3: Greg Roche (CBC) / Shane O’Hanlon (CBC Cork) 66 mins
4: Cian Barry (Rockwell College) / Evan Mintern (CBC) 53 mins
5: Sean O’Connor (Rockwell College)
6: Ronan Murphy (Castletroy College) / Sean Fitzgerald (Crescent College) 44 mins
7: Tommy Anglim (Rockwell College)
8: Kelvin Browne (Ardscoil Ris)
Referee: Mark Patton (IRFU)