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Ulster 3-12 Leinster 0-17

Updated: Monday, 25 Feb 2013 10:58 | Comments

Ulster were narrow winners against Leinster in Croke Park
Ulster were narrow winners against Leinster in Croke Park

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Holders Ulster came from behind to win their 31st Interprovincial football title at Croke Park, 3-12 to 0-17.

Five Bernard Brogan points and three from Joe Sheridan saw Leinster go six points clear, before Ulster’s Conor McManus netted a penalty.

Leinster led by 0-09 to 1-04 at the interval, but McManus and Jamie Clarke netted for Ulster, and in spite of Brogan’s 11-point haul, Pat Gilroy’s men could do nothing to halt the late charge of Joe Kernan’s side.

Ulster had nothing to show from a series of early attacks and soon found themselves trailing by three points, with Joe Sheridan sweeping over a couple of quality scores and Bernard Brogan converting a free.

The northern province finally got off the mark in the tenth minute with a Martin Penrose free, but with Michael Darragh Macauley, Cian O’Sullivan and Brendan Murphy winning more than their share of possession around midfield, Leinster were able to expose a nervous defence.

Sheridan made it 0-04 to 0-01 with a superbly taken point, but his influence waned once Chrissy McCaigue was assigned to shadow the Meath man.

Nevertheless, the threat was undiminished and when Brogan fired over a brace of points to add to John Heslin’s effort, the eastern province led by 0-07 to 0-01 at the end of the opening quarter.

Ulster then got a much-needed break when Kevin Niblock won a penalty following Peter Harte’s incisive thrust, and Conor McManus netted past Stephen Cluxton.

And the holders finished the half with scores from David Givney and Sean Cavanagh to reduce the deficit to a flattering two points - Leinster ahead by 0-09 to 1-04 at the break.

Substitute Michael Murphy narrowed the gap immediately after the restart, and when McManus netted his second goal on 40 minutes, Ulster led for the first time.

The Monaghan man blasted the ball past Cluxton from Jamie Clarke’s perfectly timed lay-off, after Sean Cavanagh had threaded a defence-splitting pass.

They almost had a third goal five minutes later when Cavanagh skipped past three defenders but he smashed his shot against a post.

But Brogan’s accuracy from frees kept Leinster in touch as he claimed his eighth score of the afternoon.

Dublin pair Kevin McMenamon and Michael Darragh Macauley combined for the latter to fire in a shot which McConnell kept out with a smart stop, but it was Ulster who struck for a third goal in the 53rd minute

Gearoid McKernan provided the assist for Crossmaglen’s Clarke to cut inside his marker and plant a low shot in the bottom corner of the net.

Brogan, McMenamon and Cluxton, from a ’45, hit back with points, but Ulster grew in confidence and scores from McManus, Clarke and Cavanagh saw them home with something to spare, moving three clear of the losers in the Interprovincial roll of honour.

Ulster scorers: C McManus 2-02 (1-00 pen), J Clarke 1-01, S Cavaanagh 0-03 (3f), P Harte, A Kernan (f), D Givney. M McHugh, M Penrose (f), M Murphy 0-1 each.

Leinster scorers: B Brogan 0-11 (9f), J Sheridan 0-03, J Heslin, K McMenamon, S Cluxton (’45) 0-01 each.

Ulster: P McConnell, C McCaigue, E McGee, C Mckeever, A Kernan, D Hughes, P Harte, S Cavanagh, D Givney, M McHugh, M Penrose, Joe McMahon, J Clarke, K Niblock, C McManus.

Subs: M Murphy for Niblock, G McKieranan for Givney, Justin McMahon for McKeever, M Poland for Penrose, K Hughes for McHugh

Leinster: S Cluxton, K Lillis, G Molloy, B Malone, M Quinn, G Brennan, A Flynn, MD Macauley, J Heslin, B Connor, R Barry, C O’Sullivan, B Brogan, J Sheridan, B Murphy

Subs: P Keenan for Connor, R O’Carroll for Lillis, K McMenamon for Barry, S McCormack for Sheridan, J Stafford for Murphy

Referee: P Neilan (Roscommon)

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