Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 4°C
# Dominant
Larmour-led Leinster finish inter-pro series in style by downing sorry Ulster
The 20-year-old was in scintillating form once again for Leo Cullen’s side.

Leinster 38

Ulster 7

Murray Kinsella reports from the RDS

LEINSTER PUT A stylish finishing note on their dominance of the inter-provincial series with a six-try win over a sorry Ulster side in Dublin, as 20-year-old rising star Jordan Larmour once again thrilled from fullback.

Jordan Larmour celebrates scoring the first try Ryan Byrne / INPHO Larmour was the star of the show again. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Two-try Fergus McFadden was superb for Leinster on the right wing as Leo Cullen’s side followed up wins over Munster and Connacht by dismantling the Ulstermen, while left wing Barry Daly also dotted down, but Larmour was the name on everyone’s lips as they departed the RDS.

Having torn Munster apart with his try-of-the-season contender on St. Stephen’s Day, Larmour scored another two here and there was a notable buzz around the Ballsbridge venue every single time he touched the ball.

Larmour’s team-mates fed off his energy, intent and enthusiasm too, and the eastern province could have scored even more than their 38 points against an Ulster side that looked down and out from very early in this game.

After the stirring comeback win over Munster last time out, this was a humiliating crash back down to earth for Les Kiss’ men, who barely failed to fire a shot for 80 minutes in a dire performance – Jacob Stockdale’s late consolation try one of very few positives.

If Ulster are to turn their season around by advancing out of their Champions Cup pool, they need to find something special very soon.

The only negative for Leinster was a worrying injury to the unlucky Garry Ringrose ahead of the back-to-back European ties against Glasgow and Montpellier, while Tadhg Furlong played on after an apparent arm injury but was then replaced at half-time.

The optimism around Leinster’s season will only grow for now, as they drew to within two points of Scarlets at the top of Conference B of the Pro14.

The onslaught began early this evening, even if the wind caught Larmour’s opening pass to send it drifting forward with opportunity beckoning for Leinster wide on the left. His next attacking contribution was far more successful.

Jordan Larmour celebrates scoring the first try with Fergus McFadden Ryan Byrne / INPHO Fergus McFadden scored two for Leinster. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

McFadden broke through the Ulster line off a Ross Byrne screen pass before hitting Larmour. The academy fullback bounced back off his left foot to beat the covering Stockdale impressively and dot down his fifth try of the season, Byrne converting from under the sticks.

Leinster had their second before the quarter mark as Ulster errors invited pressure. Cullen’s side missed a chance on the right initially but they spread the ball to the other side of the pitch, where Larmour timed his pass to Daly expertly and the ever-improving UCD wing beat Charles Piutau far too easily with a right-handed fend to cross in the corner.

Byrne’s conversion effort was off target and then some sloppy kicking from hand by Leinster allowed Ulster to finally enjoy some possession.

Furlong stayed down with an apparent arm injury for some minutes to cause Joe Schmidt to hold his breath ahead of the Six Nations but the Wexford man was happily back on his feet and rampaging with ball in hand soon after.

Academy back row Josh Murphy was also impressing in the Leinster pack on his second start for the province, splitting one Ulster maul close to the home side’s tryline to spark a counter-attack that was only ended by Trimble’s high tackle on McFadden after he had left Piutau on his heels.

Ulster should have been on the scoreboard on the half-hour mark but Stockdale dropped his intercept attempt of a telegraphed Byrne pass in the visitor’s 22 when he should have gathered to race clear.

There was frustration minutes before half time too, with Sean Reidy’s pass towards Stockdale flying into touch when space had opened up on the left in Leinster’s 22.

And another error from the out-of-form Piutau, this time a wild loose pass near the halfway line, allowed Ringrose to pop the ball up for Byrne to kick deep behind Ulster, only for superb covering work from Iain Henderson to prove just enough to prevent Larmour from scooping the ball up for his second try.

Leinster celebrate Fergus McFadden's try Tommy Dickson / INPHO Ulster couldn't live with Leinster's attack. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

Larmour thought he had that second score within minutes of the restart, but the TMO review showed that Jamison Gibson-Park had been ahead of Larmour’s grubber kick before he gathered and flicked a pass back inside to the fullback to cross the whitewash.

Undeterred, Larmour continued to be the catalyst for Leinster’s best attacking play and his chip, chase and collect out of his own half sparked their third try.

Sean Cronin, on for the injured James Tracy in the first half, took a beautiful switch line off Ringrose to continue the progress started by Larmour, before good hands from Byrne and Scott Fardy freed McFadden to sidestep past Stockdale and score.

Byrne converted that try and added the extras to a brilliant breakout Leinster try minutes later. This time it was replacement prop Andrew Porter who initiated it, hammering out of Leinster’s 22 as he spectacularly smashed Darren Cave and Stockdale into the turf.

Porter hit the supporting Gibson-Park and the scrum-half drew in Trimble to send McFadden clear from halfway for his second score.

Cullen was able to empty his bench early in the second half – the injury to Ringrose among the few concerns – and sub out-half Johnny Sexton combined with the quick-handling Henshaw to send Larmour over in the left corner for his second try coming towards the closing 10 minutes.

Stockdale crossed for Ulster off an overhead pass from replacement playmaker Johnny McPhillips inside that closing period but it was far too little far too late from Kiss’ men.

A last-minute try from Sexton, created by the offloading brilliance of replacements Noel Reid and Max Deegan sealed a comprehensive victory.

Leinster scorers:

Tries: Jordan Larmour [2], Barry Daly, Fergus McFadden [2], Johnny Sexton

Conversions: Ross Byrne [3 from 4], Johnny Sexton [1 from 2]

Ulster scorers:

Tries: Jacob Stockdale

Conversions: John Cooney [1 from 1]

LEINSTER: Jordan Larmour; Fergus McFadden, Garry Ringrose (Noel Reid ’59), Robbie Henshaw, Barry Daly; Ross Byrne (Johnny Sexton ’58), Jamison Gibson-Park (Nick McCarthy ’66); Jack McGrath (captain) (Ed Byrne ’58), James Tracy (Seán Cronin ’27), Tadhg Furlong (Andrew Porter ’41); Devin Toner (Mick Kearney ’66), Scott Fardy; Josh Murphy, Jordi Murphy, Jack Conan (Max Deegan ’61).

ULSTER: Charles Piutau (Tommy Bowe ’55); Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale; Christian Lealiifano (Johnny McPhillips ’72), Johnny Stewart (John Cooney ’55); Callum Black (Kyle McCall ’61), Rory Best (captain) (Rob Herring ’65), Rodney Ah You (Wiehahn Herbst ’55 (reversal 74′)); Pete Browne (Alan O’Connor ’55), Iain Henderson; Matty Rea, Sean Reidy (Nick Timoney ’57) , Jean Deysel.

Referee: George Clancy [IRFU].

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