Leinster’s twin U-21 retention hopes remain alive despite a frozen pair of pitches in Lisnagarvey causing havoc with the tournament’s fixture schedule.
The early ties were unable to get underway until 1pm, necessitating a switch to Banbridge’s Havelock Park for the men’s game while the women’s tie between Connacht and Ulster was deferred to Sunday.
For Leinster’s women, it was a strong start to the competition as they ran up two big wins over South East and Connacht. Erika Hinkson was on target three times in those wins, striking twice in the 5-0 success over the western province before netting one to go with a pair from Old Alex club mate Sarah Robinson against the South East.
They head up the overnight table with Munster and Ulster both on three points. The latter played just once, though – a 2-0 success over the southerners – and could win the title should they win their three games on Sunday.
On the men’s side, Ulster moved to the head of the table with a 9-1 win over Munster meaning they need just a draw against Leinster on Sunday. The blues were run close by the Ireland U-18s but nicked home with a 4-3 result.
Men: Ulster 9 Munster 1; Leinster 4 Ireland U-18 3
Standings: 1. Ulster 6pts (+11) 2. Leinster 6pts (+7) 3. Ireland U-18 0pts (-4) 4. Munster 0pts (-14)
Women: Ulster 2 Munster 0; South East 1 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
Standings (played): 1. Leinster (2) 6pts (+11) 2. Munster (2) 3pts (+4) 3. Ulster (1) 3pts (+2) 4. Connacht (1) 0pts (-5) 5. South East (2) 0pts (-12)
U-21 Interprovincial updated schedule (all at Comber Road), Sunday:
Women: Ulster v Connacht; Leinster v Munster, both at 9am; SE v Connacht, Ulster vs Leinster, both at 12.30pm; Ulster v SE, Munster v Connacht, both at 4.30pm
Men: Ireland U-18 vs Munster; Ulster vs Leinster both at 2.30pm