This evening’s game started in brisk fashion with the strong Leinster ‘A’ pack driving play deep into the Ulster ‘A’ 22 where the backs strayed offside. Ciaran Frawley, a late replacement at out-half for Cathal Marsh, stepped up to convert for a 3-0 lead in the fifth minute.
Ireland Under-20 international Frawley made it 6-0 just four minutes later after the Ulstermen failed to release the player on the ground.
The home side began to settle, taking play through a number of phases, and then out-half Brett Herron, who was successful with a 16th-minute penalty attempt, found the corner with a well-positioned kick.
The Leinster ‘A’ lineout was stolen by Peter Browne who then drove hard for the line and was stopped short. Dave Shanahan popped the ball to Stuart McCloskey at pace and the big centre had enough strength to make the try-line. Herron tagged on the conversion to take the hosts into the lead – 10-6.
As the first half drew to a close, Leinster ‘A’ started to build momentum and after a number of phases deep in the Ulster ‘A’ 22, quick hands from the backs put Hugo Keenan clear to dive in at the corner. Frawley failed to convert, leaving the visitors a single point clear (11-10) at the interval.
Hooker Sean Cronin, who has recovered from a hamstring injury, made a welcome return to action in the second half and he wasted no time in adding to the Leinster ‘A’ tally. He was on the end of a driving maul to score his side’s second unconverted try.
Within minutes the men in blue struck again, this time Barry Daly started the move with a counter attack from his 22, Louis Ludik doing well to bring his run to a halt, but Daly’s offload found his skipper Peadar Timmins who powered his way past a number of despairing tackles to score in the corner. This time Frawley added the extras taking his side 23-10 clear.
Ulster ‘A’ found it difficult to get back into the game and simply turned over too much possession. In the 60th minute they lost ball at the back of a lineout and slick handling across the Leinster ‘A’ back-line sent Barry Daly clear to score try number four which Frawley converted.
The final score of this entertaining tussle came in the last minute when blindside Timmins turned over Ulster ‘A’ ball to start the attack. Quick thinking from the visitors’ midfield exploited the dog-leg in the defensive line, sending Barry Daly clear to score his second try. With the conversion missed, Hugh Hogan’s young charges had a 25-point winning margin.
ULSTER ‘A’ SCORERS: S. McCloskey (1 try), B. Herron (1 conversion and 1 penalty)
LEINSTER ‘A’ SCORERS: H. Keenan (1 try), S. Cronin (1 try), P. Timmins (1 try), B. Daly (2 tries), C. Frawley (2 conversions and 2 penalties)
ULSTER ‘A’: Mark Best; Mark Keane, Callum Patterson, Stuart McCloskey, Louis Ludik; Brett Herron, Dave Shanahan; Tommy O’Hagan, John Andrew CAPTAIN, Ricky Lutton, John McCusker, Peter Browne, Joe Dunleavy, Conall Boomer, Greg Jones.
REPLACEMENTS: Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Chris Cundell, Matthew Dalton, Aaron Hall, John Creighton, Angus Curtis, Andy Magrath, Tom Stapley, Lewis Sampson.
LEINSTER ‘A’: Billy Dardis; Hugo Keenan, Conor O’Brien, Tom Daly, Barry Daly; Ciaran Frawley, Tim Murphy; Ed Byrne, Paddy Finlay, Andrew Porter, Mick Kearney, Ian Nagle, Peadar Timmins CAPTAIN, Will Connors, Max Deegan.
REPLACEMENTS: Sean Cronin, Peter Dooley, Oisin Heffernan, Oisin Dowling, Richard Dunne, Jack Power, Jordan Larmour.
REFEREE: David Wilkinson (IRFU)