Scott and co works the oracle as Leinster claim Under-18 interpro title in Garryduff

Head coach Sarah Scott and her team made it an incredible fifth underage girls interprovincial title as the Under-18 blues won out at Garryduff this weekend.

They won three of their four games, crucially beating Ulster 2-1 on Saturday afternoon, in addition to big wins over Connacht and the South East before being out on their feet on Sunday afternoon against Munster when the title was already assured.

They started in breathtaking fashion, running up an 8-0 win success over Connacht with Siofra O’Brien scoring twice with six other players getting on the scorer’s list.

Next on the agenda was their showdown with reigning champions Ulster who got off to a flying start when Katie McKee’s run along the baseline was deflected in by Sophie McDowell.

But a double strike seven minutes before the break swung the tie Leinster’s way. Caroline Mathews equalised and, within 60 seconds, Michelle Carey had the blues in front 2-1.

And they held on to that scoreline until the end, Jade Arundell making a crucial save from a last second corner to preserve the victory.

Ulster duly fell 2-0 in their second game of Saturday against Munster – who had drawn their opening two games – which meant that Leinster could win the title if they got a win over South East on Sunday morning.

And they duly swept home with something to spare, a 6-0 win in which Siofra O’Brien added a hat trick to her tournament tally. They could not complete the clean sweep as Caoimhe Perdue’s solo strike – her fourth goal of the tournament – saw Munster close out the tournament in second place with a 1-0 win, ending unbeaten.

Nonetheless, the tournament victory adds to Scott and her support team’s super run in interpro tournaments, winning Under-16 titles in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 before moving to the Under-18 side this year.

At Under-16 level, Ulster were the winners as they recorded three wins and a 1-1 draw with Leinster whose tournament hopes were undone in a 1-1 draw with the South East on Saturday evening.

Leinster started in confident form, beating Connacht 6-1 on Friday, scoring five times in the second half after the opening period had ended locked at 1-1.

The western province would later in the day go on to beat Munster 4-3, scoring twice in the closing minutes to swing the tie their way. Ulster opened with a 4-0 win over South East.

On day two, Gaby Lewis had Leinster 1-0 up against Ulster when she swept in from the injector’s spot. Erin Anderson levelled for the northerners in the second half with backhand strike from a corner to earn a 1-1 draw.

Jess Hood’s brace then helped Ulster add a 3-1 win over Munster to put them in pole position. That was because of Leinster’s 1-1 draw with South East as Hannah Kelly’s third goal of the day cancelled out Laura Noble’s goal.

Leinster kept alive their chances of winning the title with a 4-0 win over Munster on Sunday morning, Laura Mulcahy scoring two with Emma Dawson and Julie Ringrose – sister of Leinster rugby star Gary – also netting.

It kept Ulster honest, requiring them to win their final game against Connacht. And they raced into a 1-0 lead via Anderson before Nadia Benallal made it 2-0. Late efforts from Charlotte Stacey and Molly Dougan added an extra cherry on top of their victory.

Under-18 Interpros (all at Garryduff)
Friday: South East 1 (S Thomas) Munster 1 (C Perdue); Connacht 0 Leinster 8 (S O’Brien 2, L Lloyd, I Delamar, K Fearon, N Heisterkamp, H McLoughlin, N Shaw); South East 0 Ulster 2 (R Barnes, S McDowell)
Saturday: Connacht 1 (E Kennedy) Munster 1 (C Perdue); Ulster 1 (S McDowell) Leinster 2 (C Mathews, M Carey); Connacht 0 South East 2 (Y Pratt 2); Ulster 0 Munster 2 (C Perdue, L Ryan)
Sunday: Leinster 6 (S O’Brien 3, I Delamar 2, N Twomey) South East 0; Connacht 0 Ulster 3 (E Gregson, S McDowell, K McKee); Leinster 0 Munster 1 (C Perdue)

Final standings: 1 Leinster 9pts (+14); 2 Munster 8pts (+3); 3 Ulster 6pts (+2); 4 South East 4pts (-6); 5 Connacht 1pt (-13).

Under-16 (all at Garryduff)
Friday: Connacht 1 (S McNichol) Leinster 6 (L Motyer 2, G Lewis, J Ringrose, A Dignam, L Noble); Ulster 4 (J Hood, E Anderson, C Stacey, H Dougan) South East 0; Connacht 4 (C Keenan 2, L Hengerer, M Hengerer) Munster 3 (B Foley, R Kingston, L Clery)
Saturday: Ulster 1 (E Anderson) Leinster 1 (G Lewis); South East 2 (H Kelly 2) Connacht 0; Ulster 3 (J Hood 2, M Dougan) Munster 1 (A Horan); South East 1 (H Kelly) Leinster 1 (L Noble)
Sunday: Munster 0 Leinster 4 (L Mulcahy 2, E Dawson, J Ringrose); Connacht 0 Ulster 4 (E Anderson, N Benellal, C Stacey, M Dougan); Munster 1 (L Clery) South East 0

Final standings: 1 Ulster 10pts (+10); 2 Leinster 8pts (+9); 3 South East 4pts (-1); 4 Munster 3pts (-6); 5 Connacht 3pts (-10)

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