Wednesday 23 January 2019

Dundalk crew help Leinster to sink rivals

Rugby, Junior Interpros: Leinster 27 Munster 16

There were five Dundalk starters - including the entire front row - on the Leinster team who triumphed over their Munster counterparts in this Junior Introprovincial Championship game at Coolmine last Saturday.

This was another hard-fought game for the men in blue after their game the previous week against Connacht, but they emerged the victors in what turned out to be a thrilling encounter.

The match was played in very warm and dry conditions, with the temperature soaring above 20c, and Coolmine had their pitch and facilities in top-class shape.

Munster started off the livelier, dominating both territory and possession, and their early dominance resulted in a try through centre Eoin O'Dwyer after just four minutes. The conversion was missed, but Munster tails were up and they had laid down an early marker.

Leinster struck back after seven minutes through a well-taken penalty taken by Dundalk clubman Gearoid McDonald, but this was a short respite from the early onslaught as Munster brought their considerable forward physicality to bear and put Leinster under enormous pressure for the next 10 to 12 minutes.

A missed penalty was the sum total of the visitors' scoring threat, however, and Leinster finally began to ease themselves into the match.

They too missed a penalty chance but were beginning to fire through their forwards and backs.

On 28 minutes a great run by another of the Dundalk contingent, winger Derek Williams, brought Leinster deep into Munster's 22 and the ball was flashed out wide, but just as the try line beckoned the final pass was fumbled.

Leinster kept their foot on the pedal, though, after that slow start and their invention was rewarded with a try through centre Mikey Russell. The conversion was added by McDonald and Leinster reached half-time with a lead of 10-5.

Leinster struck again two minutes after the restart with a try through prop forward Cathal Bannon, the result of another lightning-fast attack by the Leinster backline.

McDonald added the conversion and the Leinster lead had been stretched to 17-5.

Munster came roaring back into the match with a sustained period of pressure which resulted in a second try for their centre O'Dwyer and in the 52nd minute another Munster attack resulted in a penalty which was kicked by Derry O'Connor - 17-13.

Leinster then steadied the ship and then another exhilarating attacking movement by the loose forwards and backline resulted in a try for Williams.

The conversion was missed, leaving Leinster with a nine-point advantage.

Munster replied with another penalty, but Leinster were looking for every opportunity to attack Munster and their invention was rewarded with a fourth (bonus point) try through their impressive scrum-half Stephen Horan.

Ulster, the defending champions, and Leinster now each have two wins in the competition and have effectively set up a winner-takes-all game against each other for the Interprovincial Championship next weekend. That game takes place at UUC (Coleraine) on Saturday at 2.30pm.

Leinster: Dan Costello (Stephen Duffy); Derek Williams, Mikey Russell, Matt Stapleton (Paul O'Connor), Corey Carty; Gearoid McDonald, Stephen Horan (Conor McCrossan); Jonathan Gray (Cathal Bannon), Sean Arrowsmith (Joe Gorman), Robert Farrell (Dylan Quinn); Wes Carter, Benny McManus, Kieran O'Gorman, Karl Keogh (Robin Foot), Tom Satchwell (Tom Brady).

The Argus