The Ulster U19 team completed a hat trick of age grade wins for Ulster teams when they came through from 10-0 down to defeat Munster U19’s by 13-10.
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The Munster team started the game strongly with their pack taking the game to Ulster and disrupting many Ulster scrums and lineouts. After only five minutes of play the Munster team took a 3-0 lead when their outhalf, Thomas Quinlan, converted a penalty opportunity following an Ulster infringement at a midfield ruck.
Munster continued to control both territory and possession and the Ulster defence had to work hard to ensure their line remained intact. James Gallagher, Daniel Dass and Ross Todd got through a lot of effective work in defence. They received good support from Jordan Garford and Rory Bell in the Ulster midfield.
The Munster team then created an opportunity following a scrum close to the Ulster line and the Munster captain, Steven McMahon, took full advantage to scramble in for a try close to the Ulster posts after twenty six minutes. Thomas Quinlan added the extras to increase the Munster lead to 10-0.
For the first time in the game the Ulster pack managed to provide some quality ball for their back line. Jordan Garford made a great midfield break and off loaded to Rory Bell who was running a great support line. Rory’s strength and pace took him past a despairing Munster defence as he ran in for a try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Ulster U19’s had reduced the arrears to 10-5. The Ulster team might have had another try prior to the interval when Rory Campbell made a great break to put David McMaster, the Ulster fullback, into space. David got close to the Munster line but the Munster defence just managed to halt his progress a metre short of the try line.
The Ulster team started off the second half, as they finished the first, on the attack. They took the game to Munster and, three minutes into the second half, presented their industrious hooker, Steven Weir, with a try scoring opportunity. Steven did not disappoint and touched the ball down over the Munster line. The conversion attempt rebounded off the cross bar but the Ulster team was back in the game with the scoreboard reading 10-10.
The Munster team went on the attack from the restart and the Ulster defence had to be sound. An Ulster player went to the “bin” but the Munster team could not take advantage of their numerical advantage. Dave Cave came on to replace the injured James Gallagher and made an immediate impression, thwarting a number of Munster attacks.
Just as it looked as if the game would finish with honours even, the Ulster team broke out of defence and was awarded a penalty following, a Munster infringement, on the half way line. Up stepped Jack Milligan who struck the ball sweetly to see it rebound off the bar and over for the three points to give the Ulster team a 13-10 lead with just minutes remaining.
The Ulster team got control of the ball from the restart, secured possession and cleverly played out the last few minutes to ensure a hard earned 13-10 victory at the end of the game.
The team displayed tremendous character throughout the game and this win will ensure they travel to the Sportsground in Galway to play Connacht U19’s on Saturday 14th September in a positive frame of mind. The game is scheduled to kick off at 1-00pm.