Ulster and Connacht Junior Club sides met at Pollock Park on Saturday afternoon for the final round of the 2022 Junior Interpro’s.
Report and images by Cyril Boyd.
Both teams gave it a lash from the start and Ulster’s Owen Kirk opened the scoring on the 4th minute with a try in the corner. Connacht struck back immediately with scrum half, Sam Walsh bursting through to touch down near the posts allowing No 10 Shane Purcell to add the conversion to take the score to 5 – 7.
Ulster responded with good forward play that sent No 6 Ben Riley over, Paul Armstrong converted to move the score to 12 – 7.
Not to be outdone, Connacht’s Purcell decided to get into the try scoring action and a mazy run ended with him scoring close for an easy conversion. Back up the other end and good driving forward play again rewarded Ulster with No 3 Neil Henderson going over, Armstrong again converting to take the score to 19 – 14.
It was end to end stuff and Connacht again got themselves back into contention when fullback Henry O’Toole got in at the corner with Purcell adding conversion to out the visitors back in front 19 – 21
Up the other end went Ulster and a good exchange of passing sent No 7, Matthew Elliott through to score before Adam McDonald crossed for Ulster’s 5th try. Armstrong converted both to take the score to 33 – 21.
Final action of the half saw the visitors go over for their 4th try with No 16, Sean Tonra scoring in the corner. No conversion for this one leaving the score at 33 – 26 as the teams changed ends.
After a frantic first half, things didn’t slow down. Early in the half, Owen Kirk again got over in the corner for and unconverted try. Ulster began to dominate things and it came as no surprise when No 10, Ruairi O’Farrell wove his way through to increase Ulster’s advantage, Armstrong again adding additional points as the score rattled along to 45 – 26.
Connacht weren’t giving up however and good wing play saw No 21, Graham Lynch breaking through to score with Purcell adding the extras to take it to 45 – 33.
This only seemed to spur the home team on and a great breakaway try by Andrew Rutledge pushed Ulster further ahead with Armstrong converting. Armstrong then broke away for his own try which he also converted to give a final score of Ulster 59 – 33.
The score line really didn’t reflect what a tight match it was and the crowd certainly got well entertained!
ULSTER: Adam McDonald* (Dromore RFC), Owen Kirk (Ballyclare RFC), Paul Armstrong (C) (Clogher Valley RFC), Josh Brame (Dromore RFC), Scott Martin (Ballyclare RFC); Ruairi O’Farrell (Instonians RFC), Matthew Keane (Instonians RFC), Kieran Donaghy (Lurgan RFC), Matthew Coulter (Ballyclare RFC), Neil Henderson (Clogher Valley RFC), Josh Young (Ballyclare RFC), Michael Shiels* (Limavady RFC), Ben Riley (Limavady RFC), Matthew Elliot (Cooke RFC), Callum Smyton (Clogher Valley RFC). Replacements: Scott McNarry (CIYMS RFC), Jack McIntosh (Limavady RFC), Jack Black (Ballyclare RFC), Aaron Playfair (Ballyclare RFC), Kyle Gregg (Academy RFC), Matthew McDowell (Ballyclare RFC), Andrew Rutledge (Dromore RFC), Michael Lawton (CIYMS RFC).
CONNACHT: Henry O’Toole (Connemara RFC), Alan Masterson (Westport RFC)*, Eoghan Coyle (Creggs RFC), Ian Heanue (Connemara RFC), Ross Murphy Sweeney (Buccaneers RFC); Shane Purcell (Creggs RFC), Sam Walsh (Westport RFC), Aidan Leech (Creggs RFC), Hiram Wood Hennessy (Corinthians RFC), Craig Hansberry (Ballinrobe RFC), TJ Berry (Connemara RFC), Niall Staunton (Connemara RFC), Paul Lee (Connemara RFC), Brian Ruane (Tuam RFC), Brian Diffley (Creggs RFC (C)). Replacements: Sean Tonra (Castlebar RFC), Ian Staunton (Connemara RFC), Niall Carney (Tuam RFC), Marty Cummins (Dunmore RFC), Ryan O’Meara (Buccaneers RFC), Graham Lynch (Buccaneers RFC)*, Mark Purcell (Creggs RFC), Conor Burns (Dunmore RFC), Fergus Galvin (Buccaneers RFC). *Denotes new cap.
Ulster Juniors Interprovincial Results 2022
|Sat, 23rd April||Ulster||21||Leinster||10||Carrick RFC|
|Sat, 30th April||MUNSTER||39||Ulster||17||Tralee RFC|
|Sat, 7th May||Ulster||59||Connacht||33||Lurgan RFC|