Munster end 15-year wait for boys U-18 interpro glory

Munster won their the Under-18 boys interprovincial title for the first time in 15 years as they produced an immaculate unbeaten run over the weekend in Stormont.

The run started on Friday afternoon when they fought back from a goal down to beat Ulster 2-1 with Chris Ryan popping up with the winner late on.

Munster celebrate their success. Pic: gpfoto.ie

Conor Irwin had given the northern province the lead from corner before Kevin O’Dea levelled to start the comeback.

Leinster and Ulster shared a dramatic 4-4 draw on Friday evening with the latter winning a bonus point via a shoot-out 3-2.

Amazingly, the blues played out the exact same scoreline on day two as Munster fought back from 4-2 down to earn their shoot-out chance. Mark Collins opened the scoring before Evan Jennings and Ryan Spencer swapped the lead.

O’Dea equalised for 2-2 but a Craig Mackay goal made it 3-2 to Leinster at half-time. Adam Walker added another drag-flick goal for 4-2 but Collins and O’Dea tied things up. Leinster prevailed, though, to earn the extra point from the shoot-out.

It did prove an important point for Munster, though, in the grand scheme of things and the title was in their hands when Ben McInernery scored the only goal in a 1-0 success against Ulster on Saturday evening.

It gave them a four point lead going into the final day of the competition with Leinster needing to win both of their remaining games.

And they fulfilled the first half of that equation with a comprehensive 4-1 success over Ulster with Walker adding another two to his tournament tally.

It kept Munster honest, needing a result to win the crown and they duly did so with both McInerney and skipper Ian Balding on the mark in the first half to race into a 2-0 lead. They also hit the post during that spell and they held that advantage throughout the second half for a famous success, ending the province’s long wait for glory.

The Under-16 competition, meanwhile, was a one-sided affair with Ulster bossing the event from start to finish. They ran up a big 8-1 win over Munster in game one to set the tone on Friday and they backed that up with a narrow 2-1 win over Leinster, Ewan Cruickshank and Charlie Rowe building a 2-0 lead and keeping them out of range of James Forbes’ riposte.

Leinster got off the mark on Saturday morning with a 4-1 success against Munster but Ulster went six points clear overnight with a 7-0 win over the southerners.

The Ulster Under-16 winning side. Pic: gpfoto.ie

It meant a draw would be enough on Sunday morning against Leinster but they were rarely troubled as they added another 6-0 win to close out a perfect campaign.

Boys Interprovincials (all at Stormont)

Friday

Under-18: Ulster 1 (C Irwin) Munster 2 (K O’Dea, C Ryan); Ulster 4 (E Rowe, S Wylie, P McKane, M Aughey) Leinster 4 (T Power, A Walker, R Spencer, C Mackay), Ulster win shootout 3-2

Under-16: Ulster 8 (E Cruickshanks 3, D McElhinney 2, L Rowe, H Archbold, M Conor) Munster 1; Ulster 2 (C Rowe, E Cruickshank) Leinster 1 (J Forbes)

Saturday

Under-18: Munster 4 (M Collins 2, K O’Dea 2) Leinster 4 (E Jennings R Spencer, C Mackay, A Walker), Leinster win shoot-out 4-3; Munster 1 (B McInerney) Ulster 0

Under-16: Munster 1 (A Siegne) Leinster 4 (C Knatchbull 2, J Forbes, S Hickmott); Munster 0 Ulster 7 (M Conor 2, M Anderson, D McElhinney, C Matthews, E Cruickshank, L Rowe)

Sunday

Under-18: Leinster 4 (A Walker 2, T Power, C Mackay) Ulster 1 (E Rowe); Leinster 0 Munster 2 (B McInerney, I Balding)

Under-16: Leinster 0 Ulster 6 (E Cruickshank 2, C Rowe, M Conor, M Anderson, M McKee); Leinster 1 (A Fox) Munster 1 (K Read), Leinster win shoot-out 3-2

Final standings

Under-18: 1. Munster 10pts (+4) 2. Leinster 6pts (+1) 3. Ulster 2pts (-5)

Under-16: 1. Ulster 12pts (+21) 2. Leinster 4pts (-4) 3. Munster 1pts (-17)

Partners of The Hook

smart-trainingSecurehost.ie