Hockey: Goal difference hits Ulster sides
Ulster's U16 and U18 schoolboys both lost out in their inter-provincials to Leinster over the weekend ... on goal difference.
It was a big shock for Andrew McBride and David Smyth's Under 18s who had won the title the three previous seasons and seemed to have done all the hard work over the first two days, beating and drawing with Leinster and cruising to a 3-0 success over Munster.
But they learned a harsh lesson yesterday — that you can take nothing for granted — when they never really got going and lost 1-0 to a Munster team who were humiliated twice by eventual winners Leinster (9-1 and 9-2).
In fact, this was Munster's only win of the tournament, with Midleton College's Andrew Colton getting the crucial goal which broke Ulster hearts.
Sullivan's Matthew Allister was one of the Ulster stars in the three-day tournament staged at St Andrew's College at Booterstown in south Dublin.
The Annadale youth — son of former Irish international Colin Allister of Banbridge — scored twice in the 3-2 win over Leinster and was also on the mark in the win over Munster on the first day.
Their other goals on the first day came from Campbell College's James Cox, RBAI's James Lorimer, Friends' Andy Allen while RBAI's Adam Fallis was on the mark in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Leinster.
The Under 16s recovered well after an opening 1-0 defeat against Leinster on Friday and coaches Ricky Lee and Johnny McBride were pleased as they went on to beat Munster twice (3-2 and 6-3) and also Leinster (2-0) in the return game over a busy weekend.
But Leinster's 6-0 and 4-1 successes over Munster meant they ended up with a better goal difference to regain the title for the first time since 2007.
Skipper Matt Sullivan (Friends) was one of the Ulster stars, and scored in three of the four games to finish as his province's top marksman with four goals.
Their other scorers were Campbell College's Chris Heath (2), Friends' Jack Henderson, Drumreagh Integrated College's Andrew Smyth, Regent House's Rowan Poots, Wallace High's Jack Wilson and Friends' Adam Marshall.
U16 inter-provincials: Friday: Leinster 1 Ulster 0; Munster 2 Ulster 3; Saturday: Leinster 6 Munster 0; Leinster 0 Ulster 2. Sunday: Munster 3 Ulster 6; Leinster 4 Munster 1. Final placings 1: Leinster 9 pts 2: Ulster 9pts 3: Munster 0pts. U18 inter-provincials: Friday: Leinster 2 Ulster 3; Munster 0 Ulster 3. Saturday: Leinster 9 Munster 1; Leinster 1 Ulster 1. Sunday: Munster 1 Ulster 0; Leinster 8 Munster 2. Final placings: 1: Leinster 8pts 2: Ulster 8pts 3: Munster 3pts