Reverse for Leinster

 

LEINSTER'S resurgence at various levels on the hockey front sustained a sobering but not unexpected reversal at Stormont yesterday when Ulster reclaimed the under 21 laurels with considerable authority.

While the margin was by no more than two goals, a penalty corner tally of 14-2 reflected the home side's depth of resources, stemming mainly from the accomplished Ireland under 18 squad.

Leinster, who had beaten Munster 1-0 on Friday, defended stoutly throughout yesterday's decider. The outcome was kept alive by the steadiness of the back four and a succession of top drawer saves by Stephen Kinsella. Many of Ulster's corners yielded clinically struck shots by Patrick Browne and John McMeekin but the defiant Kinsella stabbed them all away. He was particularly alertly supported by sweeper Simon Brown.

The only Ulster breakthroughs came in the 28th and 69th minutes. The always forceful Ivan Steen broke the cover on the right to leave Andrew McBride with space to fire home the first goal. Second half pressure, notably from David Smyth and Colin Jackson, eventually saw Mark Tumilty reach the back line in the final attack and his pass across the goal mouth was tucked away cleanly by Mark Irwin.

Francis de Rosa had kept up Leinster's resistance to the bitter end but only rarely did the visitors threaten to score. Both of their corners, in the first half, were well executed.