Munster claimed the spoils after defeating Ulster in Friday’s ‘A’ Inter-provincial fixture at the University of Limerick.
Ulster made an early impression through strong carries by the second-row pair, Cormac Izuchukwu and Harry Sheridan. Unfortunately, Scott Wilson was forced off injured with just 2 minutes on the clock. The hosts then looked to test Ulster’s defences as they went on the offensive.
A couple of early penalties for Munster kept them in a threatening position, but Conor McKee was quick to react on Munster’s line-out ball to give James Humphreys the exit with the boot.
The men in red continued to apply pressure, however, and eventually on 20 minutes, off a strong maul, Number Eight, Daniel Okeke broke the deadlock to crash over the first try of the afternoon. Jack Crowley was unable to convert.
The visitors soon worked their way into a great area of the field, Shea O’Brien particularly prominent in attack. Ulster had got to just a couple of metres out when winger Calvin Nash made the intercept to run the length of the pitch for the try.
The home side were in the ascendancy, and they struck for their third just four minutes later through Liam Coombes finding his way through. Crowley added the extras to put 19 points between the two sides.
Just before half-time, Ulster had a penalty opportunity which Matt Gallagher disrupted, and he was sent to the bin for cynical play. The men in white immediately profited when they went on the pick-and-go, and Callum Reid muscled over for the try. James Humphreys slotted the conversion to put seven points on the board for Ulster at the break.
Ulster started the second half as they finished the first. They quickly worked their way to just outside Munster’s line after some good interplay between Angus Curtis and Conor Rankin. Soon after, Callum Reid did really well to rumble over for the unconverted try and add a second to his personal tally.
Just four minutes later, Ulster struck again, this time through Shea O’Brien going on a great solo run to cut through Munster’s defence. Humphreys converted to bring the scores level.
Momentum had swung Ulster’s way, as their forwards earned successive penalties at the breakdown, scrum and maul. They opted to go for the posts and James Humphreys coolly landed the three to go in front for the first time in the game.
The home side started to put the pressure on again, and after a series of penalties conceded by Ulster, Harry Sheridan was sin-binned. Soon after, Munster got their fourth try through Jake Flannery, who also converted.
Munster had the final say in the game with the clock in the red, as scrum-half Ethan Coughlan collected the loose ball to cross for the hosts. Flannery fired over the conversion to see out the game.
Full-time score: Munster ‘A’ 33 Ulster ‘A’ 22
Tries: Daniel Okeke, Calvin Nash, Liam Coombes, Jake Flannery, Ethan Coughlan
Cons: Jack Crowley (2), Jake Flannery (2)
Tries: Callum Reid (2), Shea O’Brien
Cons: James Humphreys (2)
Pens: James Humphreys
(15-9) Matt Gallagher, Calvin Nash, Liam Coombes, Dan Goggin, Seán French, Jack Crowley, Neil Cronin;
(1-8) Liam O'Connor, Scott Buckley, Keynan Knox, Cian Hurley (Capt.), Eoin O'Connor, Jack Kelleher, Ronán O'Sullivan, Daniel Okeke.
Replacements: Kevin O'Byrne, Gus Harrington, Mark Donnelly, Kieran Ryan, Darragh McSweeney, David Maher, Bailey Faloon, Paddy Patterson, Ethan Coughlan, Jake Flannery, Alex McHenry, Patrick Campbell.
(15-9) Shea O’Brien (City of Armagh), Conor Rankin (Ballynahinch), Angus Curtis (Malone), Ben Carson (Banbridge), Aaron Sexton (Malone), James Humphreys (Queen’s University), Conor McKee (Queen’s University);
(1-8) Callum Reid (Banbridge), James McCormick (Ballymena), Scott Wilson (Queen’s University), Harry Sheridan (Trinity College), Cormac Izuchukwu (Ballynahinch), James McNabney (Ballymena), Reuben Crothers (Ballynahinch), David McCann (Banbridge) (Capt.).
Replacements: Jack Boal (Belfast Harlequins), George Saunderson (Queen’s University), Joe Charles (Ballynahinch), Adam McNamee (Malone), Paddy Browne (Ballymena), James Wright (Ballymena), Ethan Graham (Monaghan / Belfast Met), Reece Malone (Loughborough University/IQ Rugby).