Munster U16s take first win in 18 years
A good year for Munster hockey turned unto a great one last Sunday when the Munster U16 boys squad won the interpro title for the first time since 2004.
Munster beat Ulster 3-2 in a thrilling winner-takes-all clash. Munster topped the table by 1 point over Ulster going into the fixture.
Ulster started strongly and took the lead early in the first quarter. Ulster went close again only for a goal to be disallowed. This seemed to kick the Munster side into gear and soon after they equalised through Antonius Buddenburg.
With momentum in their favour, Munster kicked on and took the lead before half-time. A swift counter attack found an unmarked Sean Landers in the circle and he finished emphatically to make it 2-1 at the break.
Ulster came out on the front foot in the second half and equalised through a well worked penalty corner. This set up a grandstand finish with Munster knowing a draw would be enough to take the title. In the dying embers of the third quarter, Munster captain Rob Olden stepped up to rifle home an unstoppable drag-flick from a penalty corner.
The last quarter was a tense affair but Munster’s resolute defense held strong to bring the Frank Green Memorial Interprovincial U16 Cup back to Munster for the first time in 18 years.
Munster’s under 21s pushed Ulster all the way but ended up losing 2-1 to the eventual interpro winners. The under 18s also lost to Ulster on a 3-1 scoreline with Leinster taking the U18 title.
The U16s were coached by Gary O’Connor and the assistant coaches were John Whyte, Ollie O’Connor and Wes Bateman while the manager was Lorraine Olden.