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Ever-improving Ulster side have Inter-Pro glory in their sights

By Ronnie Ingram

Published 16/09/2016

Danger man: winger Mark Keane
Danger man: winger Mark Keane

Ulster under-19s are expecting a large crowd of supporters at Osborne Park tomorrow afternoon (3pm) where a win over Connacht will give them the Inter-Provincial title.

Ulster will start favourites after encouraging victories over Italy under-18s, Leinster and Munster, although there are a couple of changes to their squad. Final team selection will not be until this morning.

Alexander Clarke of Ballymena Academy has not fully recovered from illness so James Boyle continues in the middle of the front row. This means that Clayton Milligan from Down High will be given his chance as replacement hooker.

In the backs Lewis Sampson was concussed a couple of weeks ago and his place on the wing goes to Malone's Callum Smith who has been released by the Academy under-20s.

Ulster have been improving with every game although both their Inter-Pros have been closely contested.

Against Leinster they took a 10-point lead but needed a late James Hume try to clinch a 22-15 victory after the visitors had levelled twice.

In Cork last Saturday they were 5-6 in arrears at the interval and then opened up a 15-6 advantage before Munster scored a converted try well into injury time.

They have a fast-flowing back line and the danger man is Mark Keane, a winger who scored twice against Italy but also played havoc with the other defences.

Fellow Inst player Hume in the centre has already scored three tries and contributed many points with his accurate kicking.

Ulster: C Reid, J Boyle, T O'Toole, C Milligan, T Arnold, C Barrett, J McCusker, A Burke, Z Ward, J Nelson, A Hall, M Agnew, J Dunleavy, J Barry- Glendinning, J Stewart, R O'Donnell, C Fox, M Stronge, M Lowry, J Finnegan, T Stapley, J Hume, M Keane, C Smith

Meanwhile, Ulster Schools are looking for their first win in the competition when they play Leinster at Pirrie Park (1pm).

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