Ulster U18 boys were crowned Interpro Champions this evening at Havelock Park.
They rounded off their campaign with a 3-2 win over Leinster courtesy of goals from Tom Archbold, Ben Law and Matthew McAreavey, however, the tournament had already been won due to their previous results throughout the competition.
Following a quiet opening quarter, Ulster took the lead in the 23rd minute as they hit Leinster on the counter. Tom Archbold led the charge before slipping the ball left for teammate JJ Holle whose strike was well saved by the goalkeeper before Archbold reacted quickest to tap in the rebound.
Following the goal Ulster came close to doubling the lead with a chance just before the half-time break for Adam McKee but the score remained 1-0.
Just a minute into the second half Leinster drew level, but it wouldn’t take long for Ulster to restore the lead.
In the 52nd minute Ulster we’re awarded a penalty corner and Ben Law converted to give his side the lead with the final play of the quarter.
A dramatic ending to the game saw Leinster draw level once more with just five minutes to go and the game looked destined for penalty run-ins.
However, straight from the restart, Ulster took the lead for a third time in the game.
Having worked the ball to the byline it was cut back to the penalty spot and to the unmarked Matthew McAreavey. The forward took just one touch as he slapped the ball into an almost open goal and sealed the victory for his side.
Ulster U18 Coach Stephen Cuddy said he was ‘delighted’ with the sides recent success:
“Patrick and I are delighted to have been part of another Interpro title winning squad. The Interpros serve as an excellent gauge of how players perform in pivotal games, and we are really pleased with our boys’ performance throughout the four-game series. Using 25 players during these matches aligns with our belief in maintaining a broad base and providing opportunities wherever feasible.
We take pleasure in noting the inclusion of many of our players in the Irish training panel. We eagerly anticipate watching their progression throughout the season leading up to the summer internationals. Thanks is owed to Shirley McCay for her diligent behind-the-scenes work, facilitating our preparation since the beginning of August. Additionally, our sincere thanks go to Banbridge Hockey Club for hosting the final round of games; concluding the series at home adds a great finishing touch.
Regarding today’s final game, securing a 3:2 victory over a spirited Leinster team was a great way to conclude. While we may not have showcased our best performance, the boys once again demonstrated resilience, pulling out a result with a clinical finish near the end.”
The day’s other game saw the U16s suffer a 4-1 defeat against Leinster, with the visitors being crowned champions of the U16 category. It also comes just a week after our U16 girls were crowned champions in Dublin.