MUNSTER 'A' SCHOOLS 20, LEINSTER 'A' SCHOOLS 18
There was certainly a mood of disappointment in the camp when the Leinster 'A' Schools claimed overall victory in their two-legged contest (40-33) against Munster on aggregate with a two-point defeat at Donnybrook yesterday.
Leinster held a nine-point cushion from their 22-13 win at Musgrave Park the previous Wednesday and they looked like delivering a 2-0 series win until Munster's last quarter comeback left them feeling empty.
Assistant coach Patrick Collins summed it up: "Connacht used to be involved at this level. They dropped away some years ago to leave Leinster and Munster to play each other home and away.
"It is a strange feeling to win the Cup on aggregate at the same time as we have to deal with the fact that we lost this match. It was 18-3 with 15 minutes left to go. It is a tough one to swallow.
"Luckily, we went into the game with a nine-point cushion from our first leg win in Musgrave Park the previous Wednesday. It is never easy losing.
"The lads would have liked to have won the series 2-0. They have experienced what it is like to lose a game and still win a trophy. That will stand to them going forward," said Collins.
The blustery, unpredictable wind played havoc with both provinces' best intentions in an error-strewn first half, Leinster fly-half Jamie Boyd standing out for his accurate passing. Referee David Williams spotted an infringement at a ruck for Munster fly-half Dylan Cadogan to make it 3-0 in the ninth minute.
When Munster failed to roll away from a ruck, centre Cormac Hughes levelled it up in the 20th minute and Boyd's clever drop goal took Leinster in front on the half-time whistle.
Leinster looked to have moved clear of danger when impressive lock Dylan Doyle burst past three tacklers and centre Hughes showed good speed for two tries in three minutes for an 18-3 gap in the 46th minute.
But, Munster hit back with two tries in a minute from second row James Reeves and wing Andrew Carey to narrow the deficit to 18-13.
Stand-off Cadogan was wayward in his place-kicking. However, a clever angled kick in behind the Leinster defence allowed right wing Fearghal O'Nuallain to ground the ball. Cadogan put his earlier misses behind him with a touchline conversion to squeeze Munster 20-18 in front in the 64th minute for what turned out to be the match-winning moment.
SCORERS -- Munster: A Carey, F O'Nuallain, J Reeves try each; C Cadogan pen, con. Leinster: C Hughes try, pen; D Doyle try; J Boyd dr gl, con).
Munster: D Finnerty (St Anne's, Killaloe); A Carey (Dungarvan CBS), J Donovan (Nenagh CBS), K Desmond (Bandon Grammar), F O'Nuallian (Mounthawk, Tralee); D Cadogan (HS Clonmel), I Daly (CBS Tramore); T Adamakin (Villiers School), P Keating (HS Clonmel), J Reeves (CBS Sexton Street), J O'Dwyer (HS Clonmel), S Carey (HS Clonmel), B Moore (Midleton), R Kingston (Bandon Grammar, Capt), P Traynor (De La Salle Waterford). Replacements: R Steele (Midleton) for Adamkin, M Riordan (Hospital) for O'Dwyer, both 47 mins; B Coady (Villiers School) for Daly 54 mins.
Leinster: A Coade (Wilson's Hospital); N James (Newpark), C Hughes (Moyne CS), A King (Ardscoil, Athy), J Orr (Sandford Park); J Boyd (St Columba's), A Brabazon (Wilson's Hospital); C Dempsey (Good Counsel), S Reamsbottom (Mount Temple, Capt), K Browne (Good Counsel), S Gibney (Mount Temple), D Doyle (Ratoath CS), D Carroll (Gorey CS), D Buckley (Wilson's Hospital), A Keating (St Patrick's, Navan). Replacements: S Bewley (St Columba's) for Coade 51 mins; J Wall (Ashbourne CS) for Carroll 60 mins; T Fegan (Tullow CS) for Dempsey, J Salinger (Newpark) for Reamsbottom, B McDonnell (St Paul's) for Browne, R Harrington (Gorey CS) for Brabazon, M Dolan (St Colmcilles CS) for Gibney, all 68 mins.
Referee: D Williams, IRFU.