Leinster won three of the six competitions at the Masters Interpros in Three Rock Rovers this weekend, with Ulster winning two and Munster/Exiles one. Leinster President Barbara O’Malley was on hand to present the awards to Leinster for winning the Ladies O-40s (pictured below), Ladies O-45s, Men’s O-40s, to Ulster for winning the Men’s O-45s and Men’s O-50s and to Munster/Exiles for the Men’s O-45s.
The ladies O-40s matches started with Ulster recording a 2-0 win over Connacht. Kathy Cunningham scored from a penalty corner rebound with Claire Henderson getting the second from a deflection off the goal post. Ulster controlled much of the game, though Connacht pressurised towards the end.
The second ladies O-40s match was a hard fought scoreless draw between Connacht and Leinster. Leinster had most of the possession but Connacht defended well with Tara Browne saving a well-taken penalty stroke from Gillian Garrett.
Browne was the standout player, making many saves from Leinster’s short corners. Annie Lawlor caught the eye for Leinster with Hazel Agar also looking dangerous in attack. The draw was enough for Leinster to win the tournament, with Ulster finishing second and Connacht third.
The first match of the morning for the ladies O-45s was a goalfest with Munster running out 4-3 winners over Ulster. Munster went 3-0 up with speedy right winger Jacqui Freyne scoring the first goal from a deflection.
Maura Haran scored the second from an open play shot with centre forward Cathy Walsh getting the third, scoring a beautiful goal off her reverse. Ulster got one back before half time from a good passing move from the back – defender Julie Wilson to midfielder Claire Bell through to Julie Fisher (JR) and finished off by ex-international Maggie Hunter (Browne).
Ulster made a number of personnel changes at half time and Anne Snoddy scored their second off a penalty corner straight strike. But Munster restored a two-goal gap with a Cathy Walsh deflection on a ball across the circle. Ulster continued to fight back and got their third when a Snoddy flick was saved but Bell capitalised on the rebound. Ulster sought the equaliser but Munster held on to win.
In the final match in the Ladies O-45s Munster needed to beat Leinster by more than three goals to win. Leinster controlled the game in the first half although Munster were dangerous on the counter attack with goalkeeper Sinead Guilfoyle called into action on a number of occasions.
The home province went ahead when captain Jane Salter went one on one with the Munster keeper, lifting it over her into the goal. In the second half, Munster took the game to Leinster in a combative battle, with the influential Joan Dobson returning to the fray following an earlier injury.
She scored Munster’s equaliser at the back post from a long corner move. Continued pressure from Dobson and Dymphna Hill in midfield along with the penetrating runs of winger Freyne led to a number of short corners.
Dobson deflected one of these into goal from a Walsh strike to put Munster ahead. They got their third goal when Dobson’s shot was parried by Leinster’s goalkeeper but the ball squeezed through into the goal despite the best efforts of Leinster’s defenders.
Leinster were able to contain Munster in the remaining few minutes to take the title by a goal difference of two despite losing this match. Munster’s strong showing throughout the tournament gave them second place with Ulster third.
On foot of this week-end’s Interpros players will be selected to Irish Masters teams in the various age groups to participate in the Home Nations tournaments in June. The ladies Home Nations is being hosted by Ireland in Pembroke, Railway and UCD and the men’s tournament is taking place in Wakefield, England
** Words with thanks to Helen Johnston
Ladies O-40s: Connacht 0 Ulster 2; Connacht 0 Leinster 0
Ladies O-45s: Munster 4 Ulster 3; Leinster 1 Munster 3
Men’s O-40s: Ulster 2 Munster 0; Munster 2 Leinster 2; Ulster 0 Leinster 2
Men’s O-45s: Munster 4 ExPats 0; Connacht 1 Ulster 3
Men’s O-50s: Ulster 4 Munster/Exiles 2
Men’s O-55s: Munster/Exiles 1 Leinster 2
Ladies O-40s: 1 Leinster 2 Ulster 3 Connacht
Ladies O-45s: 1 Leinster 2 Munster 3 Ulster
Men’s O-40s: 1 Leinster, 2 Munster 3 Ulster
Men’s O-45s: 1 Ulster 2 Munster 3 ExPats 4 Connacht
Men’s O-50s: 1 Ulster 2 Leinster 3 Munster/Exiles
Men’s O-55s: 1 Munster/Exiles 2 Leinster 3 Ulster