Ulster U18 started their defence of their Interprovincial title with a 37 – 12 win against Connacht U18’s at Virginia RFC on Sunday afternoon.
The home side scored seven tries with Bethany McDowell (2), Mya Alcorn, Ellie Ingham (2), Lucy Turkington and Kelly McCormill all crossing. Lisa Mullen added one conversion.
Connacht replied with tries from Muireann Cawley and Aoibheann Reilly. Meabh Deely converted one.
Connacht started the game well and had Ulster under pressure in the early exchanges. However the pacey Ulster back line broke from deep and Malone’s McDowell blasted through the defence from five yards out for the opening score after 5 minutes.
Ulster added a second three minutes later when Letterkenny wonder kid, Alcorn, outstripped the defence to touch down close to the posts. Virginia’s Lisa Mullen added the conversion.
Connacht probably enjoyed the better of territory and possession but they had no answer for Ulster’s exciting back line and 25 minutes into the game a break by Mullen resulted in a try for Enniskillen’s Ingram. McDowell added a fourth at the end of the 1st half to give Ulster a 22 – 0 lead at half time.
Connacht hit back with a try from scrum half Cawley shortly after resumption but any thoughts of a comeback were quickly quashed when Dungannon’s Turkington crossed out wide for Ulster’s fifth.
Ingham added a sixth try for a rampant Ulster before the hard working Connacht crossed for their second score of the afternoon. Winger Reilly crossing out wide after a period of sustained pressure. Meabh Deely added the conversion.
Ulster had he final say with the impressive McCormill touching down in the final minutes, the Monaghan player battling through a series of defenders to reach the line.
Final score: Ulster U18 37 Connacht U18 12
Ulster play Leinster U18 in the second round of the Inter-provincial series on Saturday 30th September at North Kildare RFC, Kick off 13:30.
We caught up with Ulster U18’s coaches, Zoe Templeton and Charlie Farrell, after the game to get their thoughts on the match and on the game against Leinster.