THE seven Lisnagarvey boys on the Ulster U16 interprovincial team all played their part in winning the U16 series hockey tournament held in Cork this past weekend. The Ulster side got off to a slow start with a 0-0 draw against hosts Munster. This was a disappointing result for Ulster given the amount of possession and chances. Ulster produced a very spirited second half in which they totally dominated play but the Munster defence stood firm and held on to secure the draw.
The big game on the second day of competition was always going to be the Ulster vs Leinster fixture with the winner very well placed to capture the U16 crown. Ulster were under some pressure to win the match as Leinster had beaten a very tired Munster 8-1 in the last game of the first day. The match turned out to be a high tempo affair with Ulster dominating the midfield area. Sean Murray and Ryan Getty stood out for Ulster with Aaron Martin scoring the goal of the tournament with a reverse stick bullet that gave the goalkeeper no chance. Mark McNellis, Thomas Mathewson and James Milliken were all part of the Ulster defence that smothered the highly rated Leinster attacking threat.
In the end, Ulster ran out convincing 3-0 winners leaving the Leinster favourites in disarray. In the second series against Munster, Ulster were comfortable 2-0 winners with the score not really reflecting their dominance of the game.
This left Ulster only requiring a draw in their final game against Leinster. In another fast paced match Ulster raced into a 2-0 lead and looked to have secured the trophy by half time. Ryan Donaldson was doing his share of the hard work with the Ulster forwards in what was the last match of a gruelling weekend schedule. Leinster had nothing to lose and with 20 minutes remaining had their best spell of the weekend managing to pull the score back to 2-2 with ten minutes remaining. Despite one late scare and a few chances to close out the tournament with another Ulster win there was no further scoring. This meant Ulster had won back the Frank Green trophy, donated in memory of the former Friends’ School pupil and underage international, for the first time since 2009.