Adam Cunningham on the charge for the Connacht U18s.
U18 Interprovincial Championship
Connacht 10-40 Leinster
The Connacht U18s fell to a second defeat in the Interprovincial Championship at the Sportsground on Saturday afternoon.
Connacht went into the clash looking to make up for a deflating 22-7 defeat away to Munster the previous week.
It was the visitors who made the stronger start however as a burst from out-half Paddy McKenzie in behind a scrum was the prompt for centre Karl Martin to go over to the left of the posts.
Scrum-half Shane Murphy converted for a 7-0 lead for the visitors in the third minute.
However, Connacht refused two kickable penalties to go for greater reward. It eventually paid off six phases later when working the ball wide for right wing Darragh Hanrahan to touch down, full-back Conor O’Shaughnessy levelling it from the touchline in the 11th minute.
Out-half McKenzie’s opportunism was seen to good effect when a quick tap penalty saw him run in Leinster’s second try.
The home side narrowed the gap when Hanrahan intercepted and two rucks later an infringement allowed O’Shaughnessy to make it 12-10 at half-time.
Leinster used the wind well to apply pressure without breaking through a resilient home defence.
Once again, it was a set-piece move from a scrum which was the launching pad, McKenzie pulling the ball back for wing Matthew Jungmann to ghost through for Murphy to convert in the 42nd minute
From the restart, they methodically moved downfield where Charlie Ward was held up over the line.
The tight-head was back again to burst Connacht’s bubble for the fourth try, converted by Murphy, for 26-10 in the 45th minute.
Leinster established their superiority, Jungmann racing up the wing to almost grab his second, getting injured in the process.
The weight of pressure finally told when Ward pounced out his second try for McKenzie to kick the extras on the 50th minute.
Connacht left wing Shane Jennings made another interception and looked good for the points until tracked down by full-back Diarmuid Egan after a hectic chase.
The final act of scoring came from a Leinster interception, centre Luis Faria picking off a pass to go 80 metres for centre Martin to convert.
15 Conor O’Shaughnessy (Galwegians)
14 Darragh Hanrahan (Corinthians)
13 Saul O’Carroll (Buccaneers)
12 Craig McCormick (Ballina)
11 Shane Jennings (Ballinasloe)
10 Adam Cunningham (Galwegians)
9 Evan Kenny (Corinthians)
1 Cathal O’Grady (Buccaneers)
2 Billy McVann (Ballina)
3 Niall Carney (Corinthians)
4 Darragh Murray (Buccaneers)
5 Iarlaith Laheen-Morrin (Galwegians) (C)
6 Sean Keaney (Galwegians)
7 Mathias O’Neill (Buccaneers)
8 Thomas Connolly (Galwegians)
16 Eoin De Buitlear (Corinthians)
17 Caolan Hopkins (Ballina)
18 Cian Scanlon (Corinthians)
19 Jack Mulholland (Corinthians)
20 Oisin McCormack (Ballinasloe)
21 Brendan Cunningham (Corinthians)
22 Daniel Plaster (Castlebar)
23 Nathan Horan (Buccaneers)
Connacht U18 Coaching & Management Team
Head Coach: JP Walsh
Coach: Eric Elwood
Coach: Colm Tucker
S&C Coach: Niall O’Toole
Physio: Shayne O’Reilly
Manager: Philip Coyle