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Blues fall at final hurdle


Captain Vincent Gavin's injury-time try could not disguise the superiority of Munster over Leinster in the 'A' Schools Inter-provincial Championship decider at Donnybrook yesterday.

The Leinster boys started out with a point to prove from their 31-11 drubbing to the same opponents in their first fixture last Wednesday week.


Hooker Jason Byrne made his intentions clear with an early surge up the left wing.

The three-quarters picked up the baton to force a penalty which centre Ben Porter nailed in the fourth minute.

Porter was back for more in the 10th minute when fly-half Michael Hassett wrapped Munster's Jaco Oosthuysen up in the tackle for the cavalry to arrive and force the penalty.

Munster full-back Kerry Desmond showed his pace to cut through the middle of Leinster's defence to draw the penalty. Out-half Tip Delaney reduced the deficit to 6-3 in the 14th minute.

The home side looked to have repelled a typically powerful Munster driving maul until Delaney manoeuvred a movement wide right, his long, looping pass taking wing Stephen Scallon just outside the clutches of Tyron Pretorius for an 8-6 edge in the 26th minute.

Leinster almost rebounded straight away, Porter's penalty from the right smacking back off the left upright. The visitors could not break out of their own half, but they held a firm defensive line to the break.

A flashing break from scrum-half James Orr almost found reward when Leinster attacked down the left flank from the recycle, only for Munster's defence to close down the space.

As the rain started to fall, Porter broke the cover on the right. He was able to generate quick ball in contact to tempt Munster up offside. He got to his feet only to pull the tricky penalty left.

Leinster kept the pressure on. Full-back Fergal Howley made 40 metres on the counter. Porter was inches off target from a 44-metre penalty.

The home side had to show patience. The visitors had to lift the siege. Something had to give. The increasingly difficult conditions made handling a lottery.


Still, Leinster played true to their tradition, shifting the ball left and right, their hooker Jason Byrne an omnipresent, destructive ball carrier.

It would take just one slight mistake to unravel all their solid approach play. And so it transpired. Munster right wing Scallon charged down a clearance and was quickest to react in a foot race to the line for his second try, converted by Delaney.

Munster openside Richard Kingston applied salt to the wound when he grabbed an interception inside his own half for the insurance try, before Gavin finally found the key to unlocking the Munster cover.

Munster: K Desmond (Bandon); S Scallon (Newtown), T Tobin (Abbeyfeale VS), B Mitchell (Midleton), A Walsh (Newtown); T Delaney (Pobal Scoil Chorca Dhuibhne), J Oosthuysen (High School, Clonmel); N Fitzgerald (Villiers, capt), C O'Meara (St Anne's, Killaloe), J Reeves (Sexton Street), S Carey (High School, Clonmel), S O'Sullivan (Midleton), M Cooke (John The Baptist, Hospital), R Kingston (Bandon), R Meaney (Gaelscoil, Limerick). Replacements: M O'Neill (Pobal Scoil Youghal) for Fitzgerald 13 mins; B Moore (Midleton College) for Cooke 17 mins; G Molloy (De La Salle, Waterford) for Tobin 52 mins; A Hogan (Pobal Scoil Youghal) for Carey 60 mins; S Murphy (St Nessan's) for SCallon 62 mins.

Leinster: F Howley (Newpark); J Scanlon (Sandford Park), M Fennelly (Ardscoil na Tríonóide), B Porter (De La Salle, Wicklow), T Pretorius (St Patrick's, Navan); M Hassett (St Conleth's), J Orr (Sandford Park); E Brennan (Dunshaughlin), J Byrne (Coláiste Chill Mhantain), D Brady (Wilson's Hospital), H Connor (Newpark), S Gibney (Mount Temple), V Gavin (Mount Temple, capt), B Clarke (Newpark), J Ahearne (Gorey CC). Replacements: J Boyd (St Columba's) for Brady 4 mins - temp; P Maher (Coláiste Bhríde) for Fennelly 40 mins; B Mangan (East Glendalough) for Ahearne 52 mins; S Keogh (Ashbourne CC) for Orr, J Byrne (DLS, Wicklow) for Hassett, B Mackey (Ardscoil na Trionoide) for Byrne, Boyd (St Columba's) for Brennan, K Brown (Good Counsel) for Clarke, all 68 mins.

Referee: G Conway, IRFU.