Ulster Rugby U19 “A” & “B” XV v Munster Rugby U19 “A” & “B” XV: The Upset Is So Close!

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The Ulster U19 “A” team travelled to Limerick to play Munster U19 “A”s in a game that turned out to be a very physical encounter.
The Ulster team put on a much improved performance when compared to their last outing against Munster but the loss of three players to injury in the course of the game did little to help their cause. Munster started strongly putting pressure on the Ulster defence. The Ulster defence responded positively and the Ulster line remained intact. Ulster came more into the game and began to acquire some good first phase ball which enabled them to take play into the Munster half of the well prepared Thomond Park pitch. Ulster pressurised the home defence but well organised Munster defence, allied to loss of possession by the Ulster team, ensured that the scoreline read 0-0 at halftime. Ulster continued the second half where they left off at halftime by taking play into the Munster half. However, critical turnovers allowed the home team to break out of defence and take play deep into Ulster territory.

Five minutes after the restart the home team was awarded a penalty following an Ulster infringement. Tom Kiersey stepped up to convert the penalty and give the Munster team a 3-0 lead. Ulster continued to attack through Ryan Martin, Mark Gribben and Nathan McClatchey but it was all to no avail. Munster converted their second penalty opportunity of the second half when Tom Kiersey was successful with his kick to put his team into a 6-0 lead with just fifteen minutes left on the clock. Ulster attacked at every opportunity but the Munster defence held firm to record a 6-0 victory at the no-side whistle.

The Ulster U19 “B” team travelled to play their Munster counterparts at Thomond Park confident they could record another win following their earlier success against Leinster U19’s.

However, this proved to be a much more difficult encounter with the Ulster team finding themselves playing in a defensive role for much of the game. Darren Sweetnam gave the home team a 3-0 lead when he converted a penalty opportunity after eleven minutes of play. This lead was extended some nine minutes later when the home team took advantage of slack Ulster defence and Conor Gleeson ran in unopposed for a try. Darren Sweetnam converted the try to extend the Munster lead to 10-0. The Ulster team responded very positively and took play deep into Munster territory. Now it was the home team that had to defend but Ulster broke the defence down towards the end of the first half. A good interchange of play involving both forwards and backs saw Matthew Cahoon scramble over for a try in the corner. The conversion attempt was missed but the Ulster team had reduced the arrears to 10-5. Ulster started the second half strongly and had the opportunity to put more points on the board when they were awarded a penalty ten minutes after the restart. The kick was missed and this seemed to give the home team a great boost. Both teams attacked at every opportunity but it was the Munster team that got the only score of the second half when Darren Sweetnam was successful with a penalty kick to give his team a 13-5 lead with just a few minutes remaining. Despite their best intentions to attack it was a case of too little too late for the very determined Ulster team who were very disappointed to have lost the game by 13-5 when the final whistle sounded.

Compiled by Barney McGonigle.

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