Ulster U19’s v Connacht U19’s 14th August 2013
The Ulster U19 squad travelled to Ashbourne RFC to play the Connacht U19 team in a match designed to give both Management teams the opportunity to use as many players as possible in the build up to the Interprovincioal series due to take place in September. It was agreed to play four quarters in the game so that all available players got the opportunity to play.
Led by their captain, Darryl Morton, the Ulster team started strongly with their pack providing quality possession from both the set pieces as well as the breakdown. This set the pattern for the game which saw the Ulster team record an impressive 37-5 win.
The Ulster backrow of Ross Todd, Dave Cave and James Gallagher got through a lot of work in both attack and defence. The Ulster midfield trio of Conor Shiels, Jordan Garford and Rory Bell also impressed with their attacking abilities, particularly in the opening exchanges.
John Dunne scored the first Ulster try to give his team a 5-0 lead. Six minutes later the Ulster team scored their second try of the game when great counter attack play ended with David McMaster running in for a try. Again, the conversion was missed but the Ulster team had a 10-0 lead. Almost from the restart, the Ulster team went into attack mode once again and Jordan Garford ran in the third try of the game. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Ulster lead was now 15-0, a lead they held until the end of the first quarter.
The Connacht team displayed great spirit and determination at the start of the second quarter but could find no way through a resolute and well-organised Ulster defence. Rory Bell took advantage of some Connacht defensive indecision, as well as good attacking skills and awareness from Jack Milligan, to run in for his team’s fourth try and put the Ulster boys into a 20-0 lead, a lead they held until halftime.
In the third quarter James Beattie then took advantage of a deft cross field “kick pass” from James Gallagher to run in unopposed for a try. Timmy Emerson converted the try to put the Ulster team into a 27-0 lead.
Connacht got some reward for their endeavours when their impressive replacement, Billy Ridgeway, ran in for an unconverted try to reduce the arrears to 27-5.
The Ulster team controlled the remainder of the game with Christian Bennison taking advantage of a good counter attack from Thomas Gaston to run in for an unconverted try to put the Ulster team into a 32-5 lead.
The Ulster boys finished the game on the front foot. Rudolph Benade created mayhem in the Connacht defence and his pace and speed of hands sent David McMaster over the Connacht line for Ulster’s seventh try of the game. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Ulster squad had done more than enough to win the game by an impressive 37-5 margin.
The next Ulster U19 game will be played against the Irish Exiles U19’s at the Queen’s University playing fields on Wednesday 21st August (KO TBC) This game should prove to be another good test of the Ulster U19’s credentials as the Exiles have already defeated Munster U19’s in a recent game.
By Barney McGonigle