Leinster’s men’s Over-40s were crowned masters inteprovincial winners for a fourth successive season but they were made work hard for their success.
With the competition including an extra game against the Ulster 45s for each of the provinces, the first game up for Leinster was on Saturday at 10pm. The team struggled to breakdown a strong Ulster 45s side who snatched a draw with a superb drag flick right on the hooter by their talisman Michel Linus, cancelling out Paudie Carley’s effort.
Following the pulsating IJC cup semi-final between Garvey and Monkstown, the Leinster team took to the water base for the second time that day to take on the Ulster 40s.
This was a game that Leinster could not afford to lose as a win for Ulster would have seen them crowned champions by Saturday evening, as the previous evening they had secured a 1-0 victory over Munster.
Ulster applied the pressure from the off, going to three at the back and pinning Leinster in their own half.
However, Frankie Byrne’s side weathered the early pressure and, playing strong, simple hockey, managed to take the lead through Julian Hinds.
That lead was extended in the second half with a superb break-away goal, Grattan Evans driving through the middle to set up Dug Good for a first time strike. They remained composed for the closing 12 minutes to record the 2-0 victory.
Sunday at noon, the squad faced a Munster team knowing that anything less than a 1-0 defeat would secure the title. It proved a scrappy affair where the Leinster team failed to find the rhythm they enjoyed the previous day.
Despite much of the possession and numerous attempts on goal, they failed to convert and the game concluded with a 0-0 scoreline. With a win and a draw in the series, Leinster retained their trophy to make it 4 series wins in a row.
Leinster Over-40s squad: Gordon Clarke, Gordy Lindsay, Clinton Murphy, Paudie Carley, Colin Kelly, Stephen Bredin, Ian Stuart, Paul Fitzpatrick, Grattan Evans, Julian Hinds, Eise Lodewijk, Roland Budd, Dug Good, Stephen Stewart, David Wilson, Ashley Harrison, Noel O’Reilly, Matt Bentley