The Leinster Girls, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, got their U18 Interprovincial Series back on track with a decisive victory over Ulster at North Kildare RFC on Saturday afternoon.
They had to regather themselves from a heartbreaking 17-14 defeat away to Munster in round one.
Coach Niall Neville made three changes, bringing in scrum-half Ciara Carbery, right wing Niamh Belton and hooker Niamh Tester and holding Ireland international Anna Doyle, back from injury, on the bench.
Ulster were unchanged from the impressive fifteen that took care of Connacht 37-12 last week with the fluency suggested by putting out half-a-dozen starters from the Virginia club in Cavan.
They continued where they left off in round one by setting the pace to the game from the fine touches of half-backs Amanda McQuade and Lisa Mullen.
They looked like opening the scoring when their second row Megan Brodie was held up over the line by the combined efforts of Tester and wing Molly Fitzgerald.
From the scrum, Ulster showed calm in the face of fierce defence from Judy Bobbet’s girls in blue.
The forwards trucked the ball up and the time came for it to be moved left where centre Kelly McCormill’s thrust was dealt with diligently.
However, McQuade was alert to the space on the short side for a sniper’s try for 5-0 in the 17th minute.
A feature of the game was the amount of turnovers from good technique at the ruck, Ulster centre Lucy Turkington and Leinster openside Grace Kelly taking it in turn to snaffle penalties.
Then, Kelly ripped the ball away in the tackle to set up an attack and the confidence of Leinster out-half Megan Burns on the ball made way for wing Fitzgerald to get outside Mya Alcorn for the equalizer in the 27th minute.
It looked like it would be all-square at the break. Prop Casey O’Brien had other ideas, latching onto a spilled ball to tear a hole in Ulster’s defence.
The recycle came quickly enough for the old one-two from Burns to Fitzgerald, for the Tullamore wing’s second try, and a Leinster lead.
Ulster had to strike back and their most dangerous weapon was left wing Ellie Ingram, a real menace from speed and footwork.
However, she was never encouraged in off the wing from set plays where she could have caused havoc.
It was Leinster who took control when the awareness of scrum-half Carbery, the younger sister of Joey, caught Ulster napping down the blindside of a ruck for 15-5 in the 52nd minute.
Ulster were not about to cave in, creating go-forward through number eight Keelin Brady and chances for Alcorn and centre McCormill which they just couldn’t finish.
In the end, Leinster rounded it off in stunning style when replacement Anna Doyle’s piece of individual brilliance took her all the way to the posts for centre Natasha Behan to convert.
This means Leinster will now move towards and a date with Connacht on a final day double-header at MU Barnhall RFC on Saturday to determine the overall winner.
At North Kildare RFC – LEINSTER 22 (M Fitzgerald 2 tries; C Carbery, A Doyle try each; N Behan con); ULSTER 5 (A McQuade try)
15. Bethany Sharpe (Carlow) / Orla Molloy (Gorey) 50 mins
14. Niamh Belton (Dundalk)
13. Ali Miley (Naas) / Anna Doyle (Tullow) 40 mins
12. Natasha Behan (Gorey)
11. Molly Fitzgerald (Navan)
10. Megan Burns (Tullamore)
9. Ciara Carbery (Athy) / Jane Water (Tullamore) 54 mins
1. Meadbh O’Callaghan (Dundalk) / Aimee Clarke (Railway Union) 40 mins
2. Niamh Tester (Boyne) / Jess Keating (Old Belvedere) 48 mins
3. Casey O’Brien (St Mary’s) / Ciara Moughty (Mullingar) 60 mins
4. Judy Bobbet (Westmanstown) CAPTAIN
5. Jessica Schmidt (Wicklow) / Nikki Gibson (Westmanstown) 57 mins
6. Katlynn Doran (Port Darra)
7. Grace Kelly (Tullow) / Karen Delaney (Kilkenny) 61 mins
8. Tess Meade (Ardee)
15. Ruth Gilsenan (Virginia)
14. Mya Alcorn (Letterkenny) / Hollie Brannigan (Malone) 54 mins
13. Kelly McCormill (Monaghan)
12. Lucy Turkington (Dungannon)
11. Ellie Ingram (Enniskillen)
10. Lisa Mullen (Virginia)
9. Amanda McQuade (Virginia) / Amber Redmond (Virginia) 44 mins
1. Emma Kearney (Armagh) / Ava Fanin (Virginia) 41 mins
2. Grace Shrestha (Dungannon) CAPTAIN
3. Ella Garland (Monaghan) / Tamanika Millar (Enniskillen) 22 mins
4. Megan Brodie (Virginia)
5. Caolinn McCormack (Virginia)
6. Bethany McDowell (Malone)
7. Katie Hetherington (Clogher Valley) / Naomi McCord (Malone) 57 mins
8. Keelin Brady (Virginia)
Referee: Fiona Mallen, IRFU