O’Connell, who was this week confirmed as an assistant coach to Ireland U20 boss Noel McNamara, was a notable presence at Donnybrook Stadium yesterday, overseeing drills and warmups in advance of the tie.
Played as part of a series of warm-up encounters, this game presented new Ireland head coach McNamara with an ideal opportunity to run the rule over his squad ahead of the 2018 Six Nations Championship.
A brace of Conor Dean penalties fired Ireland to a 6-0 lead before Con Kelly opened the Leinster account with a penalty. A two-try salvo by Aaron O’Sullivan (either side of a third Dean place-kick) subsequently edged the provincial side in front, but UCC flanker Jack O’Sullivan crossed over to give Ireland a 14-13 interval advantage.
However, Leinster responded seven minutes after the restart with a hard-earned Oisin Dowling try — which was converted by Kelly.
An unconverted Peter Sullivan five-pointer on the right-wing cut Ireland’s deficit to a point (20-19), before Kelly settled the Blues with a supremely-executed penalty from long-distance. A third try courtesy of replacement scrum-half Hugh O’Sullivan moved Ireland back into the driving seat inside the final-quarter, but after Carey combined superbly with midfield partner Sean O’Brien 11 minutes from time, Leinster Development held out for a four-point win.
A O’Sullivan 2 tries, O Dowling, M Carey try each, C Kelly 2 pens, 2 cons.
J O’Sullivan, P Sullivan, H O’Sullivan try each, C Dean 3 pens, H Byrne con.
T Roche; J Kelly, S O’Brien, M Carey, A O’Sullivan; C Kelly, P Patterson; A Coyle, E Clarke, R Salanoa; JJ O’Dea, O Dowling; C Reilly, R Dunne, R Foley.
R Bergin, J Byrne, N McEniff, C Ryan, R Pimm, R Watters, M Fabian, C Kennedy, C Carey.
J Newey; P Sullivan, T O’Brien, D McCarthy, P Maher; C Dean, J Stewart; J Duggan, R Kelleher, J Aungier; C Daly, R Coffey; J O’Sullivan, M Kearney, C Doris.
J French, A Clarke, B O’Connor, J Dunne, M Agnew, S Masterson, H O’Sullivan, H Byrne, A Kernohan, M Silvester.