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Dublin: 8°C Thursday 22 October 2020


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Seconds out, it’s time for round two of inter-pros. The Aviva is once again the backdrop for this weekend’s derbies, but Ulster are today’s allotted home side hoping to bounce back to a winning habit against Leo Cullen’s all-conquering Leinster.

Kick-off down Lansdowne Road is not until 19.35 (eir Sport) so you still have time to get the dinner into ya and settle down in front of the box for the evening.

Here are your teams for this evening. Rob Kearney is in situ for Leinster. It may not be his last match for the province, but he is on the final lap.

Ulster have given a first start to Ian Madigan, who will relish a shot against his former club.


15. Jacob Stockdale
14. Matt Faddes
13. James Hume
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Rob Lyttle
10. Ian Madigan
9. John Cooney

1. Eric O’Sullivan
2. Rob Herring
3. Tom O’Toole
4. Sam Carter Capt
5. Kieran Treadwell
6. Matthew Rea
7. Jordi Murphy
8. Marcell Coetzee.


16. John Andrew
17. Kyle McCall
18. Marty Moore
19. Alan O’Connor
20. Nick Timoney
21. David Shanahan
22. Bill Johnston
23. Louis Ludik


15. Rob Kearney
14. Hugo Keenan
13. Rory O’Loughlin
12. Ciarán Frawley
11. Cian Kelleher
10. Ross Byrne
9. Jamison Gibson-Park

1. Ed Byrne Capt
2. Seán Cronin
3. Michael Bent
4. Devin Toner
5. Ross Molony
6. Josh Murphy
7. Will Connors
8. Max Deegan


16. James Tracy
17. Michael Milne
18. Tom Clarkson
19. Rhys Ruddock
20. Scott Penny
21. Rowan Osborne
22. Harry Byrne
23. Jimmy O’Brien

Result from Wales this afternoon is a bonus point win for Scarlets over Dragons, 20-41, takes them above Munster into second in Conference B. The southern province will need two points from their clash with Connacht tomorrow to make the semi-finals.

Here we go then, kick-off approaching at the eerily empty Aviva Stadium.

The coaches are in their seats, masks on, laptops open and the players are headed for the field.

KICK-OFF: Leinster take the first possession and look to put down some gainline statements.

It doesn’t take long for Ulster so ship a a penalty, the captain Sam Carter caught on the wrong side.

Byrne kicks for the left-hand corner of the 22.


Ah, a gorgeous bit of skill from Ciaran Frawley, grubbering through the line just as Robbie Henshaw did last week for Garry Ringrose’s try.

There’s a suspicion of a high arm as Ulster escape, but possession is retained.

It was Matt Faddes who got across to deny Rory O’Loughlin from Frawley’s grubber. It wasn’t a high hit, but it did appear to be a check.

It matters not, though as Leinster rumbled right and the captain for today barged his way over the line.

Leading by example.

And another Byrne adds the conversion.

Ulster 0 Leinster 7


More bad early signs for Ulster as Coetzee spills a pass and Jamison Gibson Park hacks down field forcing a scramble.

Leinster, even with all their changes, look sharp. They’re using the dual playmaking threat of Ross Byrne and Ciaran Frawley to great effect to hit wide areas nice and early.


Another penalty called on Carter. The ref initially called it fair, but seems to have gotten advice from a touch judge and called it high from the lock on Ross Byrne. This is one-way traffic.

A quick penalty comes from Ulster at the line-out and Byrne points to the posts.

PENALTY! Ulster 0 Leinster 10 (R Byrne ’15)


Madigan kicks the restart deep, Byrne returns and finally Ulster show their teeth a little as Stockdale runs it back and makes a half-break.

Cooney attempting to beat out a meaningful rhythm here with McCloskey and Coetzee taking on carries, but the penalty comes again against Ulster after Jordi Murphy and Madigan hand off short, harmless passes and Faddes is pinged for holding on.

Ulster look like a side teetering on the edge of disaster. A cross-field kick from Byrne bounces in the Ulster 22 and Cian Kelleher steals onto the pill. A kinder bounce might have put him under the posts, but Leinster are content to attack and Byrne looks for Keenan to chase it to the corner.

The ball wins the race this time, but we’re back for a penalty. Meat and drink for Ross Byrne.


Sincere apologies for the delay between updates here, folks.

Some very untimely technical issues have prevented us from confirming that penalty for Byrne and some raucous exchanges between the players with the award of breakdown penalties.

It remains 13-0 to Leinster at half-time.


*taps mic tentatively*

We’re back on air.

Thanks for your patience.


TRY! Ulster 5 Leinster 16 (Herring ’53)


Ulster kindly wait on us to get our act together to get their act together. An efficint maul down in the left corner forces its way over and Herring touches down.

Cooney adds the conversion.

Ulster 7 Leinster 16


The try is good news in the short term for Ulster, but it comes hand in hand with very concerning news as Jacob Stockdale limps off very gingerly.

The northern province will anxiously ice him up and hope he is okay for next Saturday’s semi-final in Edinburgh.


The last time these sides met was noteworthy for the way a shadow Ulster side hung on in there and finished strong. Their bigger names are repeating that pattern, McCloskey doing a geat job of setting line-speed now and pressuring Leinster to ensure they don’t get a downhill path to the win here.

Jordi Murphy now heads for the sideline for what appears to be a HIA. Ulster’s gamble of putting front-liners in to build momentum just might be back-firing.

Harry Byrne is on for his brother and is pulling some tricks out of the bag, though his cross-field kick is a little too deep and invites Ulster on.


Lovely move from Ulster, spreading the ball left to right. It just breaks down with Rob Lyttle attempting a back-handed offload and it goes to ground.

They go back for a penalty and suddenly this is set to be a one score game.


PENALTY! Ulster 10 Leinster 16 (Cooney ’68)


This would be a hell of an anti-climactic way to end a 22-winning streak for Leinster. They’ve been comfortably on top for so long, but they will have to work to shut this one out.

As little stock as Leo Cullen puts on the streak, losing it one game before the knock-out stages of the season commence would a long way from ideal.


That is a phenomenal try to pull out for a team that appeared to be coming under pressure.

Ulster’s line-speed was cranking up and up, but young Harry Byrne kept a cool head and delivered a dagger of a sucker punch as he kicked to an acre of space.

Scott Penny, a flanker, did a great impression of a flying wing as he reached the bouncing ball.


John Cooney has just poached an intercept and blitzed his way up field for a try.

The TMO will check to see if his intercept was legal.


No try, no grandstand finish.

Cooney stole onto Osborne’s pass and showed terrific pace to break the 60 yards for the corner.

Rather than a four-point game, the penalty goes Leinster’s way and the reigning champs can close this one out on the Ulster line.

TRY! Ulster 10 Leinster 26 (Osborne ’79)

A clinical finish to the game and to the regular season for Leinster.

It carries an asterisk, but they have gone through the regular Pro14 season with a 100% record winning all 15 matches set before them.

FULL-TIME: Ulster 10 Leinster 28

Now they just have to go win some trophies when the serious knockout business begins next week.

Thanks a million for joining us on the liveblog this evening, folks. Apologies again for the technical meltdown we had along the way, but sure lookit, good to work these issues out before the semi-final phase.

We’ll be back tomorrow, refreshed and raring to chomp into another inter-pro when Connacht take on Munster.

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About the author:

Sean Farrell


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