Leinster Rugby League secured the 2011 Interprovincial Championship today with a narrow 24-23 victory over 2010 champions Munster Rugby League in Limerick.

3 minutes, 35 seconds Read

In what would turn out to be a nail biting clash between bitter rivals Brian O’Brien took just three minutes to open the scoring when he slipped in down the right hand side to put the visitors in front.

Behind the posts Munster gathered themselves and came straight back at the champions elect when solid defence won possession for the men in red and after sustained pressure Joe Keane crossed over to pull his side back into the game.

Shane Mullally failed to add the conversion leaving Leinster in front by just two points. However, they came straight back in search of the score which would put them in front and a twenty yard break from Brendan Guilfoyle gave them the perfect platform.

Eventually big prop Aaron McCloskey pushed towards the Leinster try line and appeared to have been stopped short but using his long arms he reached out and touched down for Munster’s second of the game.

Mullally again missed the conversion as Munster pushed into an 8-6 lead with the half time whistle looming.

Both sides ran hard but met their match in defence with some big hits being put in by both sides.

At half time the score remained finely balanced at 8-6 in the favour of Munster who would have been looking to kick on in the second half as they needed to win by twenty two points if they wanted to be crowned interprovincial champions.

With the start of the second half Munster were on the front foot and it wasn’t long before they extended their lead.

What appeared to be a loose kick from Mullally found its way in behind the Leinster defence and was chased superbly by wing Mark Tuohy who outpaced everyone on the field to touch down for Munster’s third of the game.

This time Mullally added the extra’s as Munster took a ten point lead over their opposition.

However, Leinster showed resilience and pushed the hosts back towards their own line. With Munster awarded a scrum ten metre’s out a knock on was forced.

Wayne Kerr gathered possession and crashed over to pull his side back to within just two points thanks to McNally adding the extras.

As was the nature of the game Munster bounced back thanks to Lemaki Veipulu rounding his opposite man to touch down in the corner leaving the score at 18-12 to Munster.

This would give Leinster yet another wakeup call as Stephen Mullhall found his way over the line to make the game 18 apiece.

Mullally would then slot over a drop goal to give his side a one point lead going into the closing moments of the game.

True to their form Leinster bounced back once more thanks to substitute Peter Carr who put them 24-19 up with just one minute left in play.

All Leinster had to do was gather the kick off but great work from Munster meant they were back on the front foot.

After getting into the Leinster ten yard line a swift back line move put Alan McNamara into the corner to set up a nail biting final kick.

Luckily for Leinster Mullally left his kicking boots at home and missed for the fourth time of the day to hand Leinster a hard earned win.

For the first time ever Leinster had wrestled the interprovincial championship from Munster and in Limerick of all places.

Munster: A McNamara, D Sonneman, J Keane, L Veipulu, M Tuohy, S Mullally, D Waters, M O’Neill, Andy Brace, McCloskey, A Barry, Mark Hanrahan, B Guilfoyle Interchange: C O’Reilly, R O’Neill

Tries: J Keane, A McCloskey, M Tuohy, L Veipulu, A McNamara

Conversions: S Mullally 1/5

Drop Goals: S Mullally

Leinster: G Crawford, M Fitzmaurice, L Poynton, S Mullhall, B O’Brien, B Flanagan, P Barcoe, W Kerr, C McNally, S Deevy, S Oakley, T McKeown, T Ratahi Interchange: B Russell, A McCreery, S Boyle, P Carr

Tries: B O’Brien, W Kerr, S Mullhall, P Carr

Conversions: C McNally 4/4

Half time Munster 8-6 Leinster

Full Time Munster 23-24 Leinster

Man of the Match: Conor McNally

Please note that images will be made available upon request.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact Conor Kelly on 083 402 9646 or by e-mail at conor.kelly@rli.ie

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