Interprovincial title for Ulster


ULSTER won the interprovincial title in a great battle against Leinster at Grange Road on Saturday.

Only one goal separated the two sides in a match full of commitment, drive and energy.

Ulster had the better of the first half and that was when their goal came. Leinster conceded a short corner, on what turned out to be for them the unlucky 13th minute. Ulster executed a superb set-piece. They stopped the ball dead, quickly moved it to the top of the circle, which drew in Leinster's defence, then passed it forward again to Arlene Thompson who put the ball into the back of the net and ultimately giving Ulster the match and the championship.

Leinster were not down-heartened by Ulster's goal although they never really found their rhythm in the first half. Things were to change in the second half, especially after Ulster's Joanne Menown was substituted when the ball hit her on the cheek - an injury that needed hospital treatment.

Seven short corners came Leinster's way but none went in. Peter McCabe, Ulster's coach, said that was the reason for Leinster's defeat.

Ulster did not outshine Leinster on the pitch, they matched each other for skill and pace. The divider was the ability to score. Fintan Butler, Leinster's coach, said after the match that his team "did the best they could."

There was some excellent individual performances. Ulster's Clare McMahon was a bedrock in the centre of the pitch. She chased, got the ball and sent it on the Ulster way, while Daphne Sixsmith for Leinster ran tirelessly and worked like a Trojan. Jenny Burke and Mary Logue also clicked well in the second half.

Ulster, earlier in the day played Connacht. The result seemed a foregone conclusion and it was. Interestingly, Peter McCabe made a point of stating that they, used the whole squad for that match.

It was not until the 23rd minute that Ulster put points on the aboard when Arlene Thompson scored from a short corner. Connacht held Ulster to that one goal until Pamela Chittick scored from open play in the 56th minute.

Chittick's goal came from the only run that Ulster made at Connacht's goal. Connacht did not help themselves much as they seemed unable to connect their frees, giving away 99 per cent of them.

However, they did better in, their second game against Munster when they drew 1-1.

Connacht's task was made easier by the fact that Munster did not play well.

Nevertheless Kathy Johnston scored for Munster on the 16th minute after an excellent solo run down the left wing, a replica of a goal she scored for Muckross the previous Saturday.

After good work by Connacht, especially from Deirdre McDermott, they were rewarded with a super goal from Shirine Young. Young reacted quickly at the top of the circle to a poor clearance from the goalkeeper to level the match.

Munster failed to draw clear again in the last minute when they were awarded a penalty stroke. Sarah Kelleher took the stroke but pushed it wide.

Later Marie Agnew was announced as the new manager of the Irish team by the president of the ILHU, Anita Manning.