Ulster Are Champions

Ulster

A grand slam is a fine way to end a long wait for a Junior Inter-Provincial title and Ulster completed the job on Saturday with a highly impressive 20-7 victory over title holders Leinster at Ashbourne.

From the very outset of the competition, Ulster have been a team on a mission under the guidances of Jason Morgan having made some impressive progress over recent years.

The opening day win over Connacht set the tone and last weekend’s big win against Munster meant they were favourites on Saturday.

Results
Leinster 6, Ulster 20
Connacht 33, Munster 40

Shannon 33, Clonmel 19

Shannon

Munster Junior Cup Final

Shannon 33
Clonmel 19

Shannon are Munster Junior Cup champions after over 160 minutes of one of the more absorbing finals in the long history of the competition. After last week’s draw in Thomond Park, the action moved to Cork on Sunday and proved no less dramatic but this time, the Limerick men proved that bit stronger than the reigning champions Clonmel.

The majority of the scores might have come in the first half on Sunday but the drama rarely dipped below compelling during the entire contest. Shannon led by 13 at half time but were pegged back to seven in the second half before winger Greg O’Shea scored a vital try just shy of the hour mark that ultimately put the game out of sight.

Lansdowne 18, Clontarf 17

Lansdowne

Ulster Bank All Ireland League Final

Lansdowne 18
Clontarf 17

Lansdowne Scorers Mark Roche, Joe Mc Swiney  :  Pen: Scott Deasy(2) ;  Con: Scott Deasy  ;
Clontarf Scorers: Matt Darcy  :  Pen: Rob Keogh (4) ;

By Aaron Clarke at the Aviva Stadium for KnockOn.ie.

A late Scott Deacy penalty helped to ensure the Ulster Bank League division 1a trophy would remain in Dublin 4 for another season as Lansdowne defeated Clontarf 18-17 in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Both sides began the final with a high tempo. Clontarf captain Sean Cronin attempted to put pressure on the Lansdowne back three with some high testing box kicks combined with a strong chase line, however the Lansdowne back three showed they were up to the task at hand.

The first score of the game arrived shortly after kickoff when Lansdowne’s Tyrone Moran knocked the ball on after some great team play down the right wing, from the resulting scrum Clontarf were awarded a penalty, Rob Keogh duly stepped up to convert from distance.

Junior Inter Pro Update

Ulster

It is the final weekend of action in the Junior Inter-provincial and Ulster are on course for a long awaited title having come up just short in recent seasons.

Jason Morgan’s men need just a single point from their trip to Ashbourne this weekend where they’ll face a Leinster side chasing a first win. Even if they fail in that regard, the title will still be theirs unless Connacht manage a bonus point win and bridge a 37 point gap in the points differential or Munster win bridging a 65 point difference.

Fixtures
Leinster v Ulster, Ashbourne, Saturday 2:30pm
Connacht v Munster, Creggs Saturday 2:30pm

PODCAST: Munster Junior Cup

Clonmel Shannon

Great tries and non stop drama were the order of the day at Thomond Park last Sunday as Clonmel and Shannon played out a 16-16 draw in the Munster Junior Cup final.

After the game, KnockOn.ie contributors Rob Murphy and Alan Deegan recorded a podcast to review a superb game of rugby and look ahead to the replay.

Clonmel 16 Shannon 16

Clonmel Shannon

Munster Junior Cup Final

Clonmel 16
Shannon 16

Clonmel Scorers: Alex Sheehan 1 try, Conor Cooney 3 pens, 1 con.
Shannon Scorers: Ronan McKenna 1 try, 3 pens, 1 con.

Rob Murphy at Thomond Park

Pulsating is the the only word for it all. A Cup final that will have a solid place in the memory banks and we still have a replay to look forward to.

This final had some neat ingredients in the pre prepared pot. Clonmel looking for their second successive Junior Cup title, Shannon looking for a first since 1996. Two sides that had excelled in parallel worlds but hadn’t met in quite some time and knew very little about what to expect.

Leinster 6, Connacht 10

Leinster's Jonathan Williams

Junior Inter-Provincial

Leinster 6
Connacht 10

By Rob Murphy at Garda RFC, Westmanstown.

Leinster Scorers: Ultan Murphy 2 pens.
Connacht Scorers: Coleman Maher 1 try, Shane Sweeney 1 pen, 1 con.

The reigning champions were out battled at a wet and blustery Westmanstown on Saturday as Connacht upset the odds with a brilliant display, full of desire and determination.

The rain started early and was very much a downpour by the time Leinster and Connacht kicked off at the Westmanstown sports complex just outside Lucan. It made for a difficult afternoon for both sets of players and it was Connacht who adapted better in all departments.

Under the guidance of a new coaching team of JP Walsh and Mickey Murphy, Connacht are looking a little different this season thanks to a new wave of emerging young players but after a disappointing home defeat to Ulster last weekend, the team were very much in need of a performance on Saturday.

Ulster on the Verge

The long wait for a Junior Inter Provincial title in Ulster is almost over after round two of the Junior Inter Provincial series on Saturday.

The men in white overwhelmed Munster 35-0 in Carrickfergus on Saturday to move five points clear of both Munster and Connacht in the league standings with a vastly superior points differential for good measure.

The title holders Leinster were beaten for a second week on the bounce and thus relinquish their crown after the 10-6 loss to Connacht at the wet and windy Garda RFC home grounds of Westmanstown.

The westerners produced a clever and well crafted second half display with Coleman Maher’s try proving the key difference in a tight game.

More to Follow

Enniscorthy’s Seventh

Enniscorthy

There is so much to admire about the Enniscorthy story this season. The annals will show that in seven short days at the end of April, the Wexford club produced a couple of defiant late comebacks at first and second fifteen level to bring the two most coveted provincial trophies in Leinster back to Ross Road and let’s be honest, no one was all that surprised.

Players, mentors and supporters from Kilkenny’s first team and Tullow’s second fifteen must still be getting to grips with the final few seconds of their Towns Cup final appearances. In neither case did it look like they had it won when they took the lead in the closing minutes but there were moments in those closing stages when it certainly looked like they at least had one hand on the trophy and that will sting.

Clonmel v Shannon Preview

Shannon St Senans

Munster Junior Cup Final

Clonmel v Shannon, Thomond Park, Sunday (5:00).

All major provincial cup finals belong in the big stadiums of the respective provinces and kudos to the Munster Branch for opening up Thomond Park for Sunday’s decider. The late kick off might actually work well too, and there is a general consensus that this final is likely to attract a big crowd this weekend.

Shannon are looking to secure their eleventh title but it would only be their second success in 53 years at this level. Hard to believe, given their storied history. They made four finals in a row during the good times in the 90s, losing the first three but winning it in 1996 when they toppled UCC. That was their last success and it was also their last final appearance.

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