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Classy Ulster retain Under-18 inter-provincial crown after draw with Leinster

By John Flack

Ulster retained their Under-18 inter-provincial crown in Dublin yesterday when they secured the point they needed from a 2-2 draw with Leinster in the final game of the tournament.

The competition went down to the wire, as expected, and Ulster went into the game knowing that avoiding defeat would have been enough.

They got off to a perfect start when Ulster Elks star Jessica McMaster continued her goal-a-game record to give her side the lead after only two minutes.

Leinster drew level before the break but Randalstown's Erin Getty made it 2-1 and Ulster held on despite conceding a second goal with 10 minutes remaining.

Triumphant coach Steven Arbuthnot was delighted with his team's performance over the course of the four games in which Ulster scored 20 goals and conceded only four.

"I knew it was going to be tight against Leinster," he said.

"I believed before the tournament that we were capable of winning it, although I didn't say that to the players and I din't think we were in any real danger of losing to Leinster.

"The goals were spread around quite a few players and that really epitomised the fact that it was a real squad effort."

There was disappointment for the Ulster U-16s who were denied the title by Leinster who beat the northerners 1-0 yesterday to retain the trophy. Shirley McCay's side needed a win to take the title after earlier drawing 0-0 with Connacht but they were left chasing the game after Leinster scored after only two minutes and so had to settle for the runners-up spot.

Results: Under-16 Inter-pros: Friday: Ulster 3 (E. Anderson, L. McCaw, E. Kirgan) South East 0; Saturday: Ulster 1 (E. Anderson) Munster 1; Sunday: Ulster 0 Connacht 0; Leinster 1 Ulster 0.

Under-18 Inter-pros: Friday; Ulster 4 (R. Burns 2, J. McMaster, K.Edgar) Munster 2; Saturday: Ulster 5 (J. McMaster, L. Mulholland, A. Doyle, S. Brown 2); Ulster 9 (H. Irwin 3, R. Burns 2, R. Henderson, J. Kilpatrick, J. McMaster, J. Morrow) Connacht 0; Sunday: Leinster 2 Ulster 2 (J. McMaster, E. Getty). Senior One: Knock 0 Ballyclare 0; Grosvenor 1 Ballymena 0; Banbridge 3 Victorians 1; Larne 0 Cookstown 2.

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