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Ulster Juniors' title hopes suffer dent as Munster cling on for victory

By Ronnie Ingram

Ulster's hopes of retaining the Junior Inter-Provincial title suffered a major setback when, after being 10 points in front after 11 minutes, they lost to Munster at Clonakilty.

Now trailing the unbeaten Southern Province by three points, they need to defeat Leinster at Coleraine and hope that their rivals lose at home to Connacht next weekend.

Confident after their 33-20 victory over Connacht, Ulster kept the momentum going and took the lead after only four minutes with a Chris Cousins penalty. Shortly afterwards winger Andrew Pollock fly kicked a loose ball through and won the touchdown for Cousins to convert.

Ulster had the breeze in their favour but most of the remaining play was contested between the 22's although the home team missed two penalty chances.

Six minutes into the second period and home out-half John Lillis was successful with a penalty. Midway through Ulster were attacking but a penalty allowed the home team to clear their line.

From the line-out they surged forward and made a lot of ground before another infringement took play deep into Ulster territory where from another line-out Ruairi O'Donnell was driven over. Maybe it was lack of experience combined with silly mistakes but Munster were back in the contest and worse was to follow after 67 minutes. Prop Chris Nash was yellow carded for a scrum infringement and Lillis made no mistake to put his team in front. Ulster faced a most difficult task with only 14 players and Munster clung on for a narrowest of margins victory.

In the other game, Leinster and Connacht drew 23-23, so after two fixtures Munster have nine points, Ulster six and Connacht and Leinster three each.

Belfast Telegraph


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