A clinical first-half performance, which saw them cross the Ulster line 6 times, moved Leinster four points clear at the top of the Celtic Cup table. Both sides had gone into today’s fixture unbeaten but, despite a second-half mini-revival, which saw them collect a try bonus point, Ulster were very much second best on the day.
Report and pictures by JC Sports Photography
The visitors had actually started quite well and forced a couple of early penalties, one of which came back off the right-hand upright and dropped fortuitously into the hands of Leinster’s Harry Byrne who was able to clear the danger. Alas, another good opportunity from an attacking lineout would go to waste with an overthrow leading to Leinster clearing their lines once again.
The ability of Leinster to put the ball through the hands quickly and accurately, combined with a rapid transition to attack on turnover ball was key and resulted in a quick-fire double from outside centre Gavin Mullin to give the home side a 14-0 lead after just 15 minutes.
It was to get no better for the visitors as Leinster right wing Rob Russell collected his own kick through to register the third try which was followed in short order by the bonus point score from scrumhalf Rowan Osborne.
Hooker Dan Sheehan would claim a brace of his own with touchdowns on 31 mins, first from a lineout maul and then a breakaway on 36 mins to leave the scoreboard reading 38-0 as the referee blew for halftime.
Three minutes into the second half and things got yet worse for Ulster as they conceded a 7th try which saw tighthead Tom Clarkson power over. To their credit Ulster did now start to get a foothold in the game although how much of this was due to Leinster taking their foot off the gas is open to question.
Marcus Rea pulled one back for the visitors although Mullin then promptly completed his hat trick as he dashed down the right flank. David McCann pulled back a couple of tries for the men in white around the hour mark as Ulster benefited from an extra man as Osborne was consigned to the sin-bin.
Tommy O’Hagan would secure the try bonus point for Ulster but the home team had the final say as live-wire Patrick Patterson dotted down in the corner following up a fleet-footed break down the left wing.
Leinster A: Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Gavin Mullin, Tommy O’Brien, Rob Russell, Harry Byrne, Rowan Osborne, Charlie Ward, Dan Sheehan, Tom Clarkson, Charlie Ryan, Jack Dunne, Brian Deeny, Ronan Watters, Ronan Foley. Replacements: Harry Noonan, John McKee, Jack Aungier, Cian Prendergast, David Aspil, Patrick Patterson, Tim Corkery
Ulster A: Conor Rankin, Ethan McIlroy, Ross Adair, Hayden Hyde, Graham Curtis, Bruce Houston, Nathan Doak, Andy Warwick, Adam McBurney, Peter Cooper, Jack Regan, David O’Connor, Azur Allison, Marcus Rea, David McCann. Replacements: Tom Stewart, Tommy O’Hagan, Paul Mullen, Matthew Dalton, Aaron Hall, Jonny Stewart, Ben Power, Luke Pollock.