Late drama as Leinster snatch men’s title while Ulster celebrate magic eight

Men’s U-21 Interprovincials
Shane O’Donoghue struck twice in the closing nine minutes to dramatically swing the U-21 men’s interprovincial title Leinster’s way in Hillsborough, snatching the title from Ulster.

The tournament’s standout player, the senior international was the driving force for the provinces just when the title looked to be slipping from their grasp.

Ulster’s 9-1 win over Munster on Saturday evening in Havelock Park meant they held the edge going into the deciding game, needing just a draw would suffice to claim back the title for the first time since 2009.

And they looked well set as Stephen Dowds poked home from William Edgar’s heavily deflected cross and Hugh McShane finished off from another top class Dowds’ intervention.

It put them 2-1 with 20 minutes remaining, O’Donoghue having countered with a low reverse from Luke Chadwick’s incisive pass in the 27th minute.

But Ulster did not seem unduly under pressure as Leinster laboured going forward while Mark Ingram pulled off a couple of great stops while Matt Rollins and Matthew Lecky looked in control at the back.

That was until Jeremy Duncan won a first penalty corner with nine minutes remaining which O’Donoghue whipped home low past Michael Anderson’s right boot.

The UCD man got another chance from the set piece three minutes later and again fired low to the left corner for his hat trick and eventual winner.

Ulster did rally and almost nicked it on the final hooter from a corner of their own but Chadwick and O’Donoghue combined to shut down Dowds’ attempted drag-flick.

It meant a third successive title for Leinster as they finished the competition with three wins from three outings. The Irish U-18 side, meanwhile, took third courtesy of their 3-1 win over Munster yesterday as Michael Robson, Brian O’Malley and Simon Wolfe were all on the mark.

Saturday/Sunday collated results: Ulster 9 (S Dowds 4, W Edgar 2, C Roberts, J Moffett, R Millar) Munster 1 (G Chambers); Leinster 5 (R Canning 2, S Madeley, J Duncan, S O’Donoghue) Ireland U-18 3 (H Morris, J Lorimer, S Wolfe); Leinster 3 (S O’Donoghue 3) Ulster 2 (S Dowds, H McShane); Ireland U-18 3 (M Robson, B O’Malley, S Wolfe) Munster 1 (D Treacy)
Standings: 1. Leinster 9pts (+8) 2. Ulster 6pts (+10) 3. Ireland U-18 0pts (-4) 4. Munster 0pts (-14)

Women’s U-21 Interprovincials
Lucy McKee breathtaking five goal salvo saw Ulster win back the U-21 women’s interprovincial title in dramatic fashion, scoring a wonder goal 10 minutes from time against South East to get the goal difference required.

It made it 8-0 in the final game of the competition, matching exactly the tally they needed to get ahead of Leinster after the pair drew 1-1 earlier in the day.

Chloe Brown had given the northern province the lead just four minutes into that game but Emily Beatty levelled matters in the 41st minute to leave the tournament very much in the balance.

The blues had seen off Munster 2-1 in the first round of games on day two, meaning the Ulster win had left them unbeaten in the competition.

But it also gave Ulster a target to aim for as their 3-0 win over Connacht meant they needed to win by eight clear goals to succeed.

Andy they set about the task in immaculate fashion, racing into a 6-0 advantage as Vanessa Surgeoner arrowed home a corner hit while Julie Allison got a touch to her second shot.

McKee – daughter of Irish internationals Glenda Major and John McKee – was doing most of the damage, though, as she scored a first half quartet, finishing off nicely from incursions from Leah Ewart.

Surgeoner pounded home the seventh with 20 minutes to go but the South East stuck by their task to frustrate Ulster until ten minutes from time. It was a virtuoso effort, McKee cutting in from the left channel, dummying over the ball a couple of times before unleashing a rocket from the top-right of the circle.

They held on reasonably comfortably and the title returned to Ulster for the first time since the 2008/09 season.

Complete tournament results: Ulster 2 (L McKee, K McDonald) Munster 0; South East 1 (S Rush) Munster 7 (N Carroll 2, K Campbell 2, A McGrath, S Peters, Y O’Byrne); Leinster 5 (E Hinkson 2, E Beatty 2, A Naughton) Connacht 0; Leinster 6 (S Robinson 2, E Hinkson, C Baker, K Lloyd, L Pinder) South East 0; Leinster 2 (K Lloyd, A Naughton) Munster 1 (own goal); Ulster 3 (C Brown, L McKee, J Allison) Connacht 0; Ulster 1 (C Brown) Leinster 1 (E Beatty); Connacht 2 (own goal, K Codyre) South East 0; Ulster 8 (L McKee 5, V Surgeoner 2, J Allison) South East 0; Munster 3 (N Carroll 2, K Humphreys) Connacht 0

Standings: 1. Ulster 10pts (+13) 2. Leinster 10pts (+12) 3. Munster 6pts (+6) 4. Connacht 3pts (-9) 5. South East 0pts (-22)

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