Junior blues land Interpro double for first time in 17 years

Leinster claimed the rarest of interprovincial doubles, going unbeaten throughout the weekend at both U-18 and U-16 level to land both girls’ titles in style in Garryduff.

It was the first time since 1996 that the blue province achieved such a feat, winning the U-18 title for just the fourth time since 1990.

Following on from encouraging wins on Friday afternoon, both Leinster sides saw off regular nemesis Ulster on Saturday to put themselves in the box seat.

The Leinster U-18s and U-16s celebrate after their double success in Garryduff Pic: Leinster Hockey

The Leinster U-18s and U-16s celebrate after their double success in Garryduff Pic: Leinster Hockey

Pippa Best had out the northern province 1-0 up in the 12th minute from her side’s first attack but Leinster replied in the second half with Sara Quill levelling matters before Amber Gleeson scored from a corner in the 44th minute to secure the win.

They made it three wins in-a-row with a 1-0 win over the South East with Anna Roopnarinesingh on the mark. Munster provided the final hurdle with Ulster also interested spectators after their 6-0 win over Connacht left them with a chance of winning the title on goal difference should Leinster lose.

They didn’t, however, as Sorcha Clarke and Gleeson eased any potential nerves as they got off to a flyer with a couple of goals early on. Colm Blennerhassett’s side maintained that margin through to the end to celebrate their intepro glory.

At U-16 level, the title was won early on Sunday after a pair of Saturday wins. Against Ulster, the second half proved pivotal in a 3-1 after the sides were level at 1-1 at the break.

Freya McDermott and Ellen Curran saw them over the line after Katie McKee and Suzanne Kelly had traded first half goals. This win was then augmented by a Sarah Torrans-inspired 2-0 win over the South East.

It left them needing just a point from their final game of the competition, a date with hosts Munster on Sunday morning, a side who also had designs on the title.

Torrans was on the mark again but Munster equalised through Michelle Barry to make for a nervy finish but the young blues crossed the line to win the interpros for the second time in three years.

Electric Ireland U-18 Interprovincials:
Connacht 0 Munster 2 (E Nyland 2); Ulster 1 (P Best) Leinster 2 (S Quill, A Gleeson); Connacht 2 (R Heskin, S Minihan) South East 0; Ulster 2 (F Kidd, R Campbell) Munster 1 (E Nyland)
Sunday: Leinster 1 (A Roopnarinesingh) South East 0; Connacht 0 Ulster 6 (T Doherty, R Maguire, J Moore, E Kernohan, P Best, own goal); Leinster 2 (S Clarke, A Gleeson) Munster 0

Standings: 1. Leinster 12pts (+4) 2. Ulster 9pts (+8) 3. Munster 6pts (+3) 4. Connacht 3pts (-7) 5. South East 0pts (-8)

Electric Ireland U-16 Interprovincials
Ulster 1 (K McKee) Leinster 3 (S Kelly, F McDermott, E Curran); South East 5 (C Heuston 3, S O’Connor, J Hogg) Connacht 1 (M Corcoran); Ulster 0 Munster 0; South East 0 Leinster 2 (S Torrans 2)
Sunday: Munster 1 (M Barry) Leinster 1 (S Torrans); Connacht 0 Ulster 4 (H Irwin 2, J McMaster, O Thompson); Munster 3 (M Barry 2, N O’Keefe) South East 0

Standings: 1. Leinster 10pts (+8) 2. Munster 8pts (+4) 3. Ulster 7pts (+8) 4. South East 3pts (-7) 5. Connacht 0pts (-13)

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