Leinster U-16s and Ulster U-18s snatch interpro titles on thrilling final day

Leinster’s Under-16s and Ulster’s Under-18s won their respective final matches at the boys interprovincials in Cork to land the crown in dramatic fashion.

Both were trailing going into those final games but produced the results when it mattered, capping a high quality weekend of hockey.

At Under-16 level, the junior blues were in a tricky situation on Friday morning in the tournament opener as Munster skipper Mark Collins and Jonathan Spillane had the hosts 2-1 up at half-time.

But second half goals from Ben McTiernan and Callum Hewat – nailing a drag-flick – swung the game Leinster’s way. Munster also took the lead against Ulster in the second game of Friday with Karl Smyth netting from the top of the circle four minutes in.

They ran out of steam, however, and Ulster had a 2-1 lead by half-time stretched out a 5-1 win by the end with Eddie Rowe and Matthew Aughey grabbing a brace each.

The northern province backed up that win on Saturday morning with a 1-1 draw with Leinster with Rowe and Ben Stewart trading first half goals. For this year, a bonus point is on offer via a shoot-out following draws and Ulster duly took the opportunity with a 4-1 win.

Leinster followed up with a 1-0 win on Saturday afternoon, Conor Walsh netting against Munster, moving them into an overnight lead on seven points with Ulster on five overnight but with a game extra to be played.

The red hands duly went back in front with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Munster, Sam Anderson scoring the only goal. It set up a thrilling final game with Leinster needing a win over Ulster who already had a game in their Sunday legs.

The blues got off to a flyer with Rex Dunlop scoring in the first 10 minutes from play and Daniel Wann finishing off a counter-attack move for a 2-0 lead.

Patrick Rose halved the deficit from a corner before the break and Ulster threw everything forward in the second half, taking off their goalkeeper for the last five minutes, but Leinster held on for a 2-1 win and the victory.

At Under-18 level, Ulster produced a stunning 4-0 win in the final game of the competition, landing a title that looked to be destined for Leinster after day two.

It was the first loss they had suffered over the course of the weekend. Munster and Leinster drew in the tournament opener 0-0 with the southern side getting the bonus point.

Ulster followed up with a 7-1 win with Troy Chambers scoring a hat trick on Friday afternoon and the sharp-shooter continued his hot form with a run and dink from the baseline for the opening goal against Leinster on Saturday morning.

Josh Greaney levelled and Sam Walker put Leinster in front before Evan Jennings made the game safe in the second half for an important win.

Simon Lowry’s side backed that up with a 2-1 win over Munster with Greaney and Adam Walker scoring for Leinster, moving them on to seven points with Ulster on three.

It meant they needed to win both of their Sunday games to have any chance of overhauling Leinster and they got that pursuit off to a good start with three first half goals against Munster on Sunday morning – Johnny Lynch, Oliver Kidd and Stewart Wylie earning a 3-0 win.

Like the Under-16s, it set up a final game decider with Ulster requiring a win while a draw could have made for a fascinating scenario of a shoot-out possibly swinging things.

A scoreless first half kept things very much in the balance before Kidd put Ulster on course for the result they craved. With eight minutes to go, he struck again with Leinster taking off their goalkeeper almost instantly.

It did not work out, however, as Wylie nicked in twice in the last two minutes to spin out a 4-0 result to win back the interpro title.

Boys interprovincial tournaments (all at Garryduff)
Friday, September 14
Under-16: Munster 2 (M Collins, J Spillane) Leinster 3 (D Wann, B McTiernan, C Hewat); Munster 1 (K Smyth) Ulster 5 (M Aughey 2, E Rowe 2, C Curry)
Under-18: Munster 0 Leinster 0, Munster win bonus point shoot-out 3-0; Munster 1 (D Coffey) Ulster 7 (T Chambers 3, S Wylie 2, O Kidd, H Scott)

Saturday, September 15
Under-16: Leinster 1 (B Stewart) Ulster 1 (E Rowe), Ulster win shoot-out 4-1; Leinster 1 (C Walsh) Munster 0

Under-18: Leinster 3 (J Greaney, S Walker, E Jennings) Ulster 1 (T Chambers); Leinster 2 (J Greaney, A Walker) Munster 1 (D Coffey)

Sunday, September 16
Under-16: Ulster 1 (S Anderson) Munster 0; Ulster 1 (P Rose) Leinster 2 (D Wann, R Dunlop)
Under-18: Ulster 3 (J Lynch, O Kidd, S Wylie) Munster 0; Ulster 4 (O Kidd 2, S Wylie 2) Leinster 0

Final standings:
Under-16: 1. Leinster 10pts (+4) 2. Ulster 8pts (+4) 3. Munster 0pts (-8)
Under-18: 1. Ulster 9pts (+10) 2. Leinster 7pts (0) 3. Munster 2pts (-10)

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