Thursday 18 January 2018

U-18s boss Keena bows out on a high after record-equalling eighth successive title

The Leinster U-18s celebrate after retaining the inter-pro trophy
The Leinster U-18s celebrate after retaining the inter-pro trophy

Leinster U-18s have retained the Interprovincial Trophy, a record-equalling eight in a row to match a run of wins last achieved in the 1990s.

The team are coached and managed by Pat Keena and Dan van Zyl, who have delivered seven previous victories in the interpro series.

Leinster headed into the 2015 series after a tough pre-season where they played the U-18 Schools side, The Exiles, Northampton and Blackrock College.

The Interprovincial Trophy was played over three successive Saturdays, beginning on September 5.

First up were Munster, then Ulster and rounding out with a trip to Connacht.


The Munster game was played in Donnybrook. Munster came out strongly went 14-0 up before Leinster found their feet and pulled back the deficit before claiming a 29-21 victory.

The Leinster squad have been in training since March; getting the interprovincial series off to a winning start kept the dream alive.

Travelling north to face Ulster in Rainey Old Boys RFC, Leinster were not to know what awaited them.

Ulster were a tougher side than in recent years.

While Leinster opened strongly and might have been forgiven for thinking they were in for an easy afternoon.

Ulster hit back fast and hard, as two tries, one conversion and a penalty put them ahead.

It was a tight encounter. Ulster, having gained the upper hand were looking good at 29-28 in the 67th minute. But then, ill-discipline in the final minutes gave Leinster an opening, which they took and with no time left on the clock Leinster finished out 31-29 victors.

Into the west on September 19, Leinster were on course for the series win, and taking Connacht at home would secure the trophy.

Lining out in The Sportsground, history was there to be made for Leinster.

While Leinster had to work hard and dig deep earlier in the series, they were on fire in Galway, running in five tries to secure a 33-10 victory and win the series.

This series win means that Leinster matched its 1990s era eight in a row winning streak.

It also marks a highpoint for manager Keena who has decided to retire from his position.

He goes out on a high and with everyone's thanks and best wishes for the future!

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