Boy’s Interprovincials – Day One
Ulster’s U-18s took the early initiative in the schoolboy’s interprovincials as they ended day one with two wins, leaving Munster and Leinster with plenty of catching up to do at St Andrew’s over the weekend.
In game one, they got the best of a five-goal battle at against the blues as Matthew Allister’s instincts in the circle proved the difference between the sides. He gave the northern province a deserved lead when he applied a simple finish after Annadale club mate Michael Robson scrambled a cross from the left baseline.
Kirk Shimmins tipped in Ravin Nair’s ball to brilliantly make it 1-1 from Leinster’s first major attack but Ulster restored the advantage from a corner, James Cox banging home the third phase after two Stefan Gallagher saves.
David Cole smashed the post on the half-time hooter before Leinster produced a much stronger second half performance. They came unstuck, though, when a long overhead was caught by Adam Fallis and he powered into the left side of the circle and Allister was on hand to slide onto his reverse-stick shot across the face of goal.
Ross Canning got one back when he batted home following a five-metre free bounced his way but the blues were unable to force an equaliser to give the red hands a much celebrated win.
Ulster backed up that result up with a 3-0 victory over Munster in a tie which turned in the 50th minute. James Lorimer’s corner goal had Ulster one up but Munster pushed on in the second half and should have levelled with ten minutes to go when David Treacy’s square ball was fresh-aired with the goal gaping, agonisingly hitting a foot instead.
From the ensuing counter, Ulster broke and Michael Robson laid on set up Allister for a second time on the day to slam home. Andy Allen whipped in another corner to complete the win late on.
At U-16 level, Jack Ryan finished off a sublime move in the 50th minute to win the day’s opener for Leinster with the only goal of the game. It was beautifully crafted, starting from a free out which Luke Madeley diagonally flicked to Johnny McCormack on half-way. His reverse-stick pass found the over-lapping Aaron Bailey who drove forward and cracked into the circle for Ryan to ramp over the Ulster goalkeeper.
It was the high point of a lively second half after a first period characterised by half chances and saw Gareth Borland’s side get off to a strong start.
Ulster bounced back in dramatic fashion in the evening game when they came back from a horror start to win 3-2 against Munster. Julian Dale struck twice inside the first three minutes to put the southerners in dreamland, bullying the first over the line before roofing a spectacular drag-flick.
They held that lead until half-time by virtue of a brilliant rearguard action, Jack Ryan pulling off a string of saves while Colin Kingston was outstanding at the centre of defence. Adam Marshall hit the post with the best move but the second half saw the comeback enacted as captain and vice-captain, respectively, got them back in the game, Matthew Sullivan and Jack Henderson on the mark.
Ryan pulled off another couple of good saves before Andrew Smyth calmly finished six minutes from time for the winner. Dale almost changed that in the closing seconds but his flick crashed the bar and away to safety to see Ulster over the line.
U-16 Interprovincials results: Leinster 1 (Jack Ryan) Ulster 0; Ulster 3 (Matthew Sullivan, Jack Henderson, Andrew Smyth) Munster 2 (Julian Dale 2)
Standings (played): 1. Leinster (1) 3pts (+1) 2. Ulster (2) 3pts (0) 3. Munster (1) 0pts (-1)
Fixtures, Saturday: Leinster vs Munster, 11am; Leinster vs Ulster, 3pm
Sunday: Munster vs Ulster, 10am; Leinster vs Munster, 2pm
U-18 Interprovincials results: Leinster 2 (Kirk Shimmins, Ross Canning) Ulster 3 (Matthew Allister 2, James Cox); Ulster 3 (James Lorimer, Matthew Allister, Andy Allen) Munster 0
Standings (played): 1. Ulster (2) 6pts (+4) 2. Leinster (1) 0pts (-1) 3. Munster (1) 0pts (-4)
Fixtures, Saturday: Leinster vs Munster, 1pm; Leinster vs Ulster, 5pm
Sunday: Munster vs Ulster, 12pm; Leinster vs Munster, 4pm