Leinster ‘A’ ran out comfortable 31-10 winners over Ulster Ravens in the spring sunshine at Deramore Park today with a strong second half performance as they scored 21 unanswered points…

Warming up for their British & Irish Cup quarter-final against Munster ‘A’ on Friday, April 4, Leinster ‘A’ played the slicker rugby in Belfast and outscored the hosts by four tries to one.

Ulster Ravens broke the deadlock on 16 minutes with a try from centre Michael Allen. He went over from close range after a sustained period of pressure in the Leinster 22 and out-half James McKinney converted.

Leinster ‘A’ hit back sevens minutes later with a try from Tom Daly, who started in the centre alongside Thomas Farrell.

Full-back Darren Hudson cut through the defensive line, breaking a couple of tackles before offloading for Daly to run in from five metres. Cathal Marsh added the conversion to tie things up at 7-all.

Leinster ‘A’ winger Sam Coghlan Murray then had a try disallowed for crossing as Girvan Dempsey’s charges looked to pull ahead.

The visitors had young lock Gavin Thornbury yellow carded on 32 minutes and the Ravens regained the lead when McKinney slotted over the resulting penalty.

Leinster ‘A’ nearly added a second try when number 10 Marsh put a grubber kick behind the defence but Hudson knocked on as he tried to gather with the try-line in his sights.

Marsh made it 10 points apiece with the last kick of the first half, converting a penalty after the Ravens were caught offside in front of their posts.

Leinster ‘A’ began the second half in fine fettle, going ahead for the first time just two minutes after the restart.

Flanker Josh van der Flier broke from a scrum and put Coghlan Murray clear and the winger went over unopposed, but Marsh was wide with the conversion.

Marsh extended the lead with a 45th minute penalty but was wide of the target after the dominant Leinster ‘A’ scrum earned another opportunity.

Replacement Sam Windsor, who plays club rugby with Dublin University, kicked a penalty for Dempsey’s side before they added two tries in the final six minutes.

The Ravens had hooker Kyle McCall sin-binned for hands in the ruck and Leinster ‘A’ took full advantage to add some gloss to the final scoreline.

Replacement prop Ed Byrne finished of a slick handling move for the province’s third try after 74 minutes.

Bryan Byrne crashed through the home defence creating an overlap on the left wing, and Leo Auva’a and Quinn Roux moved the ball through the hands for Edward Byrne to finish in the corner but Windsor could not convert from a tight angle.

Ravens full-back Peter Nelson saved a try when he carried Farrell’s grubber kick over his own try-line, however Leinster ‘A’ scored their final try from the resulting five-metre scrum.

The powerful Auva’a picked up at the base and crashed through two tackles to touch down and seal a runaway win.

ULSTER RAVENS SCORERS: M. Allen (1 try), J. McKinney (1 conversion and 1 penalty)

LEINSTER ‘A’ SCORERS: T. Daly (1 try), S. Coghlan Murray (1 try), E. Byrne (1 try), L. Auva’a (1 try), C. Marsh (1 conversion and 2 penalties), S. Windsor (1 penalty)

ULSTER RAVENS: D McIlwaine; A Lidell, R Andrew, M Allen, P Nelson; J McKinney, P Marshall; A Warwick, K McCall, A Macklin, A O’Connor, N McComb, C Joyce, M McComish, CAPTAIN, L Dow.

REPLACEMENTS: P Jackson, M Cromie, A Marica, M Campbell, J Atkinson, D Dass, D Shanahan, R McMaster.


15. Darren Hudson
14. Andrew Boyle (Billy Dardis, 75)
13. Thomas Farrell
12. Tom Daly
11. Sam Coghlan Murray
10. Cathal Marsh (Sam Windsor, 55)
9. John Cooney (Luke McGrath, 22)
1. Jack O’Connell (Edward Byrne, 65)
2. James Tracy (Bryan Byrne, half-time)
3. Tadhg Furlong CAPTAIN
4. Quinn Roux
5. Gavin Thornbury (Craig Trenier, 67)
6. Ben Marshall (Leo Auva’a, 50)
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jack Conan