Saturday 22 October 2016

U-19s take the positives after improved display in defeat

Connacht U-19 18-45 Ulster U-19

Published 18/09/2015 | 02:30

The Connacht U19 squad
The Connacht U19 squad
Luke Carty

The Connacht U-19s improved significantly on their opening-day mauling at the hands of Leinster, but they were unable to recover from a poor start against Ulster at the Sportsground.

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After conceding two early tries, Connacht raised their game, competing doggedly, slowing the visitors' ball at the breakdown and getting defensive patterns in place.

The pressure they were exerting resulted in a penalty which Luke Carty converted.

Connacht continued to make life difficult for the Ulster defence and were unlucky not to score a try when they blocked down two consecutive clearances, only for the visitors' winger to win the race to the line.

Ulster then hit them with a sucker punch. Connacht made good ground up the middle with a series of pick-and-drives but were caught cold when the ball popped out of a ruck. Ulster recovered it and moved it quickly to the wing outflanking our cover to score in the corner.

Undeterred, Connacht forced a penalty from which Carty reduced the arrears, but another Ulster try soon followed to make it 26-6 at the interval.

On the resumption, Connacht soon conceded a converted try due to another missed tackle.

Despite the mistake Connacht kept their head up and were rewarded after 42mins with a Carty try in the corner. Ulster came back fighting and scored two quick tries to stretch the lead to 45-11.

Over the next 23 minutes both benches were emptied. Connacht had the upper hand but just couldn't convert their chances, leaving at least three good scoring chances behind them.

Eventually, though, Colm de Buitléar got over under the posts, with Carty converting in the final action of the game.

Despite the scoreline, this was a massive improvement on last week's performance, one Connacht can take heart in. If they can cut out the mistakes and be more clinical in attack, they can get a result next week against Munster.

Irish Independent

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