It was on March 18, 1899 that the schoolboys of Leinster came south and won the first interprovincial encounter with Munster, winning 6-3 at Turners Cross. Meeting for the 100th time at this level and just a few hundred yards down the road from the original clash, the class of 2010 scored their 59th victory in the series with a 20-10 defeat of the southern province at Musgrave Park.
Munster, looking for its 32nd win since the rivalry began, was consigned to its third interprovincial defeat of the campaign having also gone down to Ulster and Connacht, but Leinster secured the interprovincial title in style.
Leinster fly-half Steve Crosbie had kicked an early penalty to put the visitors in front before centre Conor McEllin scored under the posts in the 29th minute, Crosbie converting for a 10-0 lead.
Munster, though, fought back before the interval, Daragh McNamara knocking over a penalty three minutes later to get the home side on the board and then both engineering and executing the try and conversion that got his team back on level terms.
The Munster fly-half made a great line break in first-half injury time and headed straight up the middle of the field before off-loading to centre Seamus Glynn in front of the posts. When the ball was recycled out of the ruck, McNamara this time broke the try line to finish the move and his conversion ended the half with the score tied at 10-10.
Crosbie was again first to score after the restart, adding three points to his tally with another penalty in the 56th minute but the most crucial moment of the game had come two minutes earlier with the introduction of Leinster back row Jack O’Neill, who replaced flanker Conor Kilcoyle. O’Neill began to cause the Munster defence problems, twice snaffling ball at the back of the lineout to gain valuable yards and reaching the home tryline in the 57th minute only to be thwarted by Munster strength in numbers.
They could do nothing to stop O’Neill in the 68th minute, however as the Castleknock College schoolboy eluded two Munster tackles to finally make it over the line for a deserved try, Crosbie converting to stretch Leinster’s lead to 20-10 and out of the reach of their rivals. As a dejected Munster squad warmed down in one corner of the Musgrave Park pitch, the triumphant Leinster boys congregated in a circle at halfway and after a few minutes burst into a spirited rendition of “Molly Malone”, just as one imagined their 19th century predecessors celebrating 100 matches previously.
S Dinan (PBC); P O’Sullivan (Crescent Comprehensive College), S Glynn (PBC), R Scannall (PBC), C Murphy (St Munchin’s College); D McNamara (CBC), C O’Regan (CBC); C O’Donnell (Rockwell College), B Scott (PBC), N Horan (Crescent Comprehensive); E Ryan (St Munchin’s College), S McCarthy (Rockwell College), G Ryan (St Munchin’s College), D Ryan (St Munchin’s College), R Murphy (PBC, capt).
Replacements: D Montgomery (St Munchin’s College) for B Scott (70), D Canny (Ard Scoil Ris) for Horan, (42); Horan for Canny (59); Canny for C O’Donnell (69), W Foley (PBC) for D Ryan (54), D Nolan (CBC) for C Murphy (70), B Haugh (Rockwell College) G Ryan (69), R Foley (CBC) for O’Regan (70), C Kiely (Rockwell College) for P O’Sullivan (69).
J Fitzpatrick (Gonzaga College); M Mellett (Castleknock College) C McEllin (Blackrock College), R Kavanagh (St Michael’s College), M Roche (Blackrock College); S Crosbie (St Gerard’s School), L McGrath (St Michael’s College, capt); E Byrne (Clongowes Wood College), B Byrne (Clongowes Wood College), A Boland (Blackrock College), J Sexton (St Mary’s College), G Thonrbury (Blackrock College), C Kilcoyne (Blackrock College), D Leavy (St Michael’s College) L Satchwell (The King’s Hospital).
Replacements: J O’Neill (Castleknock College) for Kilcoyne (51), B Howard (CBC Monkstown) for Mellett (65).
Referee: Stuart Douglas (IRFU)