Ellen Curran’s bolt from the blue saw Leinster claim the women’s Under-21 interprovincial championship as they took the laurels in Donabate with a 2-1 win over Ulster.
It came hugely against the run of play as the northern province pressed and probed Clodagh Cassin’s goal but were continually frustrated. When Erin Getty finally scored with nine minutes to go to cancel out Erica Markey’s early opener at 1-1, it looked like Ulster were set for the title.
But Leinster summoned their first attack of note in the second half mere seconds after the leveller. Curran – a member of the Irish Under-18 panel in the summer – wriggled free of two tackles before unleashing a backhand shot that picked out the bottom right corner.
Leinster duly held on for the result, adding it to a 7-0 win over Connacht on Friday and a 3-0 success on Saturday against Munster.
Markey emerged as the tournament’s star, scoring four times over the course of the weekend in what was her first interpro tournament at any age – the only Leinster person in that position.
Indeed, it was a very young side with six players Under-18 at this stage, including Markey and Curran as well as Emma Mathews, Amber Barnwell, Ava Beatty and Katherine Egan.
From this tournament, a squad will now be selected for a six team competition set to be played in Valencia in last October.
Friday: Munster 1 (M Barry) Ulster 3 (J McMaster, K Burns, R Henderson); Connacht 0 Leinster 7 (E Markey 2, A Beatty, S Patton, A Richardson, S Clarke)
Saturday: Munster 0 Leinster 3 (E Markey 2, S Campbell); Ulster 8 (H Irwin 3, R Burns 2, K Burns, T Doherty, J Kilpatrick) Connacht 0
Sunday: Connacht 2 (E Noone 2) Munster 1 (M Barry); Ulster vs Leinster
Standings: 1. Leinster 9pts (+11) 2. Ulster 6pts (+9) 3. Connacht 3pts (-14) 4. Munster 0pts (-6)