The Leinster U18 Schools, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, will play Munster in a winner-takes-all showdown for the Interprovincial Championship at Donnybrook next Saturday, KO12.45.

Jeff Carter’s boys made a good start more than half the battle to hold off their hosts Ulster at Methodist College in Belfast on Saturday afternoon.
Coach Jeff Carter decided on a number of changes to bring renewed energy to the effort. It paid off from the start.

Leinster controlled the ball and applied pressure that was good enough to pay the dividend of a penalty from scrum-half Elliot Ryan.

The commitment was of the highest quality. The standard of execution did not quite match it against a tough-tackling Ulster defence.

The weight of possession, territory and possession eventually uncovered a crack in the home defence and left wing Sam Barry did not have to be asked twice to bury the chance for an eight-point cushion at the interval.

A second penalty from Ryan made it 11-0 in the 38th minute as Leinster looked like piling up the points.

However, the concentration levels dipped to allow a penalty which Bruce Houston knocked over in the 40th minute. This was a warning sign on how Ulster were not going to sit back and wait for the visitors to come to them.

The insistence of the guests on playing the ball out of defence was thwarted by an interception by Stewart Moore for Houston’s conversion to leave one-point in it.

The introduction of a cavalry of replacements gave Leinster the legs and the lungs to withstand Ulster’s surge.

The next score could be decisive. It came from Leinster’s replacement scrum-half Conrad Daly without the conversion to make it a two-score game.

The build of tension lasted right to the wire when centre David Ryan had the final say with Leinster’s third try to set up a championship decider against Munster at Donnybrook next Saturday.

“It is a Cup final next week,” said Carter.

“Munster are obviously the team to beat, at the moment. They have three wins and twelve points against our nine points. We need to win and deny them the bonus-point.

“We’re confident we can put in a good performance. I think we have it in us.”

“The attitude and commitment of the boys has been fantastic, especially after losing the first match to Munster.”

At Methodist College, Belfast: ULSTER SCHOOLS 10 (S Moore try; B Houston pen, con); LEINSTER SCHOOLS 21 (C Daly, D Ryan, S Barry try each; E Ryan 2 pens).

ULSTER: Jack Lewis (Ballyclare HS); Tiarnan Martin (Ballymena Academy), Stewart Moore (Dalriada School), George Pringle (Friends School), Jamie Manderson (Wallace HS); Robin Wilson (Down HS), Lewis Finlay (Down HS); Ben Savage (Ballymena Academy), Tim Savoury (Ballymena Academy), Scott Agnew (Ballymena Academy, JJ McKee (Antrim GS), Oisin Kiernan (Campbell College), Matthew Crowther (Captain, Campbell College), Tom Gilpin (BRA), Jamie Macartney (Campbell College).
Replacements: Max Baillie (Coleraine GS) for Kiernan, John McKee (Campbell College) for Savage, Aaron Sexton (Bangor GS) for McKee, Bruce Houston (Ballymena Academy) all ht; Ben Crangle (Methodist College) for Agnew, Angus Kernohan (Ballymena Academy) for Pringle both 51 mins; Bryn Davies (Rainey ES) for Savoury 65 mins.

LEINSTER: Conor Kelly (Cistercian College Roscrea); Kevin Kyne (Newbridge College), Liam Turner (Blackrock College), David Ryan (St Michael’s College), Sam Barry (Belvedere College); Cormac Foley (St Gerard’s School), Elliott Ryan (Presentation College Bray); Niall McEniff (St Mary’s College), Harry O’Neill (Terenure College), Ronan Hannon (Clongowes Wood College), Cian Prendergast (Newbridge College), Ryan Baird (St Michael’s College) Captain, Adam Fleming (Catholic University School), Scott Penny (St Michael’s College), Ruadhan Byron (Belvedere College).

Replacement: Adam La Grue (Terenure College) for Kyne 25 mins; Richie Bergin (St Mary’s College) for McEniff, Johnny Bell (Belvedere College) for Hannon both 42 mins; Michael Milne (Cistercian College Roscrea) for Bell 51 mins; Conrad Daly (Clongowes Wood College) for Ryan, David Hawkshaw (Belvedere College) for Foley, Sam Dardis (Terenure College) for Kelly all 54 mins; Reuben Pim (Kilkenny College) for Penny 65 mins.