Friday 24 November 2017

Walsh leads by example as Connacht get season off to a flier

Ulster U-18 8 Connacht U-18 15

Connacht U-18 captain Barry Walsh fires out a pass from the base of a strong scrum in the victory over Ulster at Hatrick Park
Connacht U-18 captain Barry Walsh fires out a pass from the base of a strong scrum in the victory over Ulster at Hatrick Park
Conor Burns in action

Connacht U-18 beat their Ulster counterparts in the opening match of the 2015 Interprovincial Championship in a sun-drenched Hatrick Park, home of Rainey Old Boys RFC in Magherafelt.

Connacht started brightly and after 10 minutes of pressure scrum-half Barry Walsh had the opportunity to put the visitors ahead when Ulster were offside at a ruck. The attempt went narrowly wide and it was Ulster who opened the scoring with a penalty on 13 minutes.

The home side had the majority of possession for the first quarter but a stoic Connacht defence held firm and it was the Westerners who crossed the whitewash first, with captain Walsh diving over from close range after a number of powerful pick-and-goes from the Connacht pack.

Ulster regrouped and a number of potent driving mauls saw them crash over for a try in the dying moments of the first half.

The maul had been set from a lineout after a Connacht infringement saw James Brandon yellow-carded for the team's repeat offences.

The missed conversion left the half-time score 8-5.

If Ulster had the upper hand in the first half then it's fair to say Connacht were the more determined side in the second period.

Ulster had their own man in the sinbin for repeated infringements and it wasn't long before Connacht made the extra man count as second-row David Robb crossed the tryline despite the attention of a number of Ulster players.


With the backline now getting clean ruck ball from the forwards, they were able to show their skills, and their attacking prowess was quickly converted to points when, with seconds left on the clock, full-back Jonah Culligan sprinted in for a well worked try and Connacht had secured the win.

Connacht U-18 make the trip down to Cork tomorrow to take on Munster in the home of CIT in Bishopstown.

Connacht U-18s- J Culligan, T McGann, C Reid, C Burns, M Balaski, R Gaffney, B Walsh, J Alova, L Sweeney,K Wojtkowicz, A Cummins, D Robb, D Tierney, J Brandon, M O'Neill. Reps: S Tonra, J Kelly, M Keegan, G Duffy, R Hickey, R Hennessy, N Gray, M O'Reilly.

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