Leinster Schools took one step towards becoming the inaugural Schools Origin Champions Yesterday with a 60-38 victory over Ulster in Belfast Metropolitan College yesterday afternoon.
The visitors grabbed eleven tries on the way to victory but it was Ulster who got out of the blocks the quickest as they bagged three early tries to take an 18-0 lead and it looked like the hosts would take control of the game.
Ulster’s fast paced start was giving their opposition problems as they rolled down the field at will forcing a number of penalties for off side.
The speed of James Milligan and Johnny Dunlop gave Ulster go forward ball which caught Leinster out of position on a number of occasions.
However, the game would turn half way through the first half when Ulster second row Ty Mackness was sent to the sin bin after lashing out at Leinster scrum half Conor Redmond.
Leinster took an immediate advantage from having an extra man when fullback Adam Brodigan drew in four defenders and managed to offload out of the tackle which put Emmett Banahan in to start the revival.
Ulster would take a narrow lead into the second half but Leinster’s forwards began to make good yards with strong carries from captain Ryan Healy and second row Adam Carberry giving their side a solid platform to work from. It was from this platform that set centre Sean Hayes free and his pace caused his opposite number real problems.
The second half was predominantly Leinster but Ulster stuck with them all the way only to concede three late tries which gave Leinster an emphatic victory.
Ulster will look to use the next two weeks to regroup and mount a comeback in the return fixture on the 14th of May when the series will be decided.
For Leinster the focus will be on maintaining the level of performance to secure the first Schools Origin Series in their own back yard.
Ulster: Phil Steele, James Milligan, Darryl Hand, Johnny Dunlop, Cameron Waddell, Ryan Duddy, Conor McNeill, Jake Gardner, Thomas McGookin, Mark Bishop, Ty Mackness, Tom Campbell, Johnny Mooney Interchange: Johnny Creighton, Alex Curry, Corey Kelly, Sam Dane, Mark Pyper, Ben Cullen, Adam Anderson
Leinster: Adam Brodigan, Aaron Doolan, Sean Hayes, Tom Burke, Luke Hasle O’Brien, Cian Harrington, Conor Redmond, Ryan Healy, Emmett Banahan, Cathal Downey, Liam McMahon, Adam Carberry, Cathal Duffy Interchange: Nick Smith, Craig Black, Darren Madden, Paul Bolger, Cillian McDonald, Ross Berkery, Freddie Tallon
Referee: Jason Craughwell
Leinster Man Of the Match: Sean Hayes
Ulster Man of the Match: Johnny Dunlop