Friday, February 15, 2008

Men: Leinster 3 Ulster 3

Leinster will be wondering how they did not start the Interpros with a win after Keith Black's 69th minute goal gave the Northerners a share of the spoils.

Ulster did start the game in the ascendancy but a scintillating 20 minutes in the second half should have put Leinster into a commanding lead. The game's crucial moment came when Andy McConnell put through Gordy Elliott to score into an open goal but he inexplicably pushed wide from a tight angle.

With Leinster leading 3-2, the Munster man next to me said straight away "this is a nailed on 3-3 now". And he was proved right by Black's late show.

Ulster's potency up front was almost proven in the second minute when Timmy Cockram burned past Neil Lyons before his shot drifted wide.

They did not have long to wait, though, as Mark Irwin showed what Ireland were potentially missing in New Zealand, as he tore down the right wing and then flipped the ball over Ian Walker from the end-line.

He doubled the lead when Cockram intercepted to give Irwin the simplest of chances for 2-0 in the 23rd minute. It could have been worse for Leinster when Eamonn Bane appeared to take down Irwin on the 25. Umpire McCully looked set to sin-bin the player before David Smyth classily intervened to calm the situation.

And the Blues got their lifeline just before the break, when Andy McConnell - one of the game's outstanding players - stole the ball before setting up Alan Sothern for a smart finish, chippng the ball to himself before burying past Gareth Lennox.

Sothern then created the equaliser, banging the ball at Mitch Darling who seemed to know little about the finish but got enough of a deflection for 2-2.

Leinster were now playing superb hockey, David Robinson flying down the flank from right back on his debut and Dave Bane influential after recovering from a first half head injury with suitably Donnacha O'Callaghan-esque head-dress. Ulster were becoming increasingly ragged with Irwin and Johnny Jackson green carded before Geoff McCabe was sent to the bin for a trip on Alan Browne.

Robinson won the penalty corner for Sothern to take the lead with 20 minutes left. The Blues continued to dominate but could not press home the advantage but as the game closed out they began to sit further and further back.

Elliott missed his chance before Robinson was forced off with a suspected dislocated shoulder as Leinster let their superiority slip. Joe Brennan was twice caught dithering in possession before a penalty corner was conceded with three minutes remaining. Ian Walker made an initial save before Dave Bane took a shot off the line.

But they were not to hold on, as Black got the tie with just 40 seconds left.


Anonymous said...

alan browne without a doubt was man of the match, justifying any selection issues. from watching the match, i think this report looks like a different match to what went on. pivotal moments? come on. Leinster dominated whole match. couple of soft goals. pitch looked icey too with a lot of people losing their footing. looked like that was an issue.

Anonymous said...

think if elliott had knocked that in or if leinster took a few more chanes, they obviously would have won.

thought leinster started slowly, lots of mistakes in the first 15mins with bad ball control as Ulster were defo on top. robbo looked nervous to start was brilliant after, lyons and brennan were burned a few times by the fast ulster attack and Eamon Bane looked out of position at left back.

don't think leins played until 5mins before half-time

Anonymous said...

I feel that the youth of the leinster side were unreal, Alan Sothern should be given man of the match after a great performance!! Mitch darling, andy mcconell, david robinson and Iain walker all showed that they deserved to be there, Leinster for the title!!!!

Anonymous said...

quite simply the diference was andy mcc, never seen the chap play so well, you wouldn have known ulster had so many caps out there.

mind you typical leinster, get the lead sit back and potentialy lose the pros.

Anonymous said...

Without a doubt Andy McConnell was the man of the match. He was key to everything leinster did and was involved in most of the goals.

Some big performances also from browne, bane, southern and darling.

Future looks good for leinster!

Anonymous said...

on friday night andy was best player on the pitch.

Anonymous said...

can i just say anyone who doubted the selection for the interpros can look at the weekend and see that each selection was correct....anyone who said the glens players shudnt be in also need to take it back...browne was imense...parsons was class and all the other lads did very well.a top leinster squad with top performances...well done guys

Anonymous said...

i thought andy mcconnell was fantastic on friday night, as was alan browne. leinster were very unlucky not to win the game.

Anonymous said...

leinster showed class at times but gave it all up with a very soft goal at the end going in very close to the leinster keeper, who had an alright game for someone who can usually perform better