ULSTER’S LITTLE REA OF SUNSHINE
Try from debut boy gives home side win over Blues at Kingspan
DEBUT boy Marcus Rea helped Ulster beat Leinster 14-13 in their Guinness PRO14 derby clash at Kingspan Stadium.
With bigger matches in coming weeks and both sides unable to better their position in the table, the coaches took the opportunity to give some fringe players a game – but the contest never hit the heights.
After a scrappy opening
Leinster had the first chance to put points on the board after the pack won a penalty from a scrum but Ross Byrne’s long
range effort dropped short.
Chances were at a premium in the first quarter and when both sides did create any, the good work was undone by a handling error.
Ulster’s first opportunity to score came on 24 minutes. Johnny McPhillips turned the Leinster defence with a well weighted kick, fullback Michael Lowry caught the ball in the visitors’ 22, and the forwards worked it through a couple of phases to edge closer to the line – but Joe Tomane won a turnover at the ruck, allowing Byrne to clear to touch.
Leinster finally broke the deadlock on 29 minutes. Fergus McFadden, who had earlier escaped a sanction for an altercation with Sean Reidy, got the ball on his wing and made a jinking run across the pitch into the Ulster 22. He fed Byrne and the outside-half fired the ball to the wing for full-back Jimmy O’Brien to go over in the corner for an unconverted try. Ulster responded almost immediately. Lowry started the move with a probing counter-attack and offloaded to scrum-half Dave Shanahan,who was propelled over the line with the help of a couple of forwards after initially seeing his progress halted. McPhillips added the conversion. Leinster regained the lead as Byrne slotted over a penalty following an Ulster infringement at the line-out. The visitors went into the break with a 13-7 lead following a try from the final play of the first half, when McFadden slid in for an unconverted score following good work by Byrne and Noel Reid.
Leinster had lock Oisin Dowling yellow carded on 52 minutes for an infringement on his own line and Ulster made their numerical advantage count eight minutes later when flanker Rea marked his debut with a try, bursting over from close range despite the attention of two defenders.
Full-back Peter Nelson landed the conversion, which proved to be the decisive score.
THE MARC OF THE MAN Ulster’s Marcus Rea goes over for a try on his debut against Leinster last night