The Leinster U18 Girls, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, made their first Interprovincial match a losing one at Armagh’s Palace Grounds on Saturday.

Leinster were hampered by the late withdrawal of second row Olivia Daly-Tallon due to illness, thus forcing a reshuffle in the pack.

Aine Reilly stepped up from the bench. Rachael Dunne moved from seven to eight and Daisy Earle switched into the engine room.
It is difficult to know whether this had a knock-on effect, although Ulster did start better to maintain their edge all the way to the lead try in the 23rd minute.

The Leinster scrum was solid, even winning two balls against the head, and hooker Moya Griffin was accurate at the lineout, finding Dunne and Earle with ease.

The surprising level of support for the home side and the passion they vocalised certainly drove Ulster onwards to finish the half on the up.

Leinster had real performers, especially in the abrasive play of wing Kathy Baker, the work rate of tight-head prop Casey O’Brien and late call-up Reilly did the basics very well. 

They moved the ball into the hands of Eimear Corri and the Portlaoise wing was able to use speed and evasion to beat three defenders, eventually avoiding a desperate tackle to make the line on the hour mark to square it at 5-all.
It was the time for Leinster to take advantage of the body blow this was to the home side.
However, they were driven onto the back foot where Ulster’s direct style produced the winning touchdown in the 64th minute.
“It definitely had a historical feel to it, being the first Interpro at this Age Grade,” said coach Aoife Thompson.

“Ulster celebrated like they had won the World Cup and our girls were gutted.”
“We had set an aim to go out and perform. We have lost of weapons in the backline and we just didn’t use them.”

There is no time to dwell on what might have been as greatest rivals Munster will be in Seapoint RFC next Saturday.

“We have training on Wednesday evening. We know what we have to do. We need to play as a team. We need to put more shape and structure on our attack and work on our support for the ball carrier.”

At Armagh RFC: ULSTER 10; LEINSTER 5 (E Corri try).

LEINSTER: Emma Chamberlain (Garda RFC); Kathy Baker (The King’s Hospital School), Niamh Doran (Gorey RFC), Louise Scully (Portlaoise RFC), Eimear Corri (Portlaoise RFC); Megan Burns (Tullamore RFC), Hannah Rose Buckley (Wicklow RFC); Caoimhe Molloy (Gorey RFC) Captain, Moya Griffin (Tullamore RFC), Casey O’Brien (Naas RFC), Daisy Earle (Gorey RFC), Judy Bobbett (Old Belvedere RFC), Tess Meade (Ardee RFC), Aine Reilly (Ardee RFC), Rachael Dunne (Tullamore RFC).

Replacements: Liz Brophy (Portlaoise RFC) for Dunne, Katelynn Doran (Cill Dara RFC) for Buckley both 47 mins; Holly Ravenhill (Tullamore RFC) for Bobbett, Bethany Sharpe (Tullow RFC) for Chamberlain both 53 mins; Sarah Doyle (Enniscorthy RFC) for O’Brien 57 mins; Nicola McGrath (Gorey RFC) for Doran 59 mins; Hannah Rose Buckley for Baker 68 mins.