Leinster and Ulster face Off In The Pro14 Final

Despite this years Pro14 final being between two teams with drastically different trophy cabinets, it’s far from a foregone conclusion.

Ulster last won what was then the Celtic League (long before Italians or South Africans had joined) in 2006. There was no play-off series, the title was decided in the regular season. And Ulster clinched it with a last minute drop goal. Since then Ulster have been trophy-less. They made a final in 2013, just a year after making the Heineken Cup final. On both occasions, they were beaten by their opponents today.

Contrasting this with Leinster, they’ve gone from nearly men, to serial winners, to lost without hop, back to serial winners since Ulster last earned silverware. Despite winning the first version of the league in 2002, Leinster gained a reputation for missing opportunities. Finally they’d lift the league again in 2008, before a run of winning 3 European Cups in 4 seasons, followed by a Challenge Cup and back to back league titles. Things went south when Joe Schmidt took the Ireland job. In 2015 Leinster failed to make the play-offs for the first time, lost the final the following year, and were knocked out in the semi-finals the year after. It seemed the good times were over. However they have since won a European Cup and League double, and regained the league title, only the 2nd time that’s happened.

Ulster go into the game looking for what would be a deserved trophy this season, their first in 14 years. Leinster are looking for an unprecedented 3 in a row. Both sides may face into a European Cup Quarter Final next weekend against European Giants (who are having very different experiences right now).

The road here has been different but in the end we have the two best teams based on the season. Ulster were impressive in the early parts of the season, and scored the most points against Leinster in the RDS this season, more than anybody has in a long time, despite losing the game. They struggled after the lockdown, looking sluggish against Connacht and Leinster. However you could argue they were reluctant to show their hand ahead of the semi-final they knew they would be in, and the European Cup. Ulster looked dead and buried in the semi-final against Edinburgh (another side who would be worthy of the title of 2nd best team this season), but they showed they could stand up, coming back to win the game with a last minute penalty.

Leinster on the other hand have had a more straight forward journey. 24 wins on the bounce in all competitions. Unbeaten all season. Many games, particularly in Dublin, have seemed inevitable. What Leinster have been good at this season is edging the first half, and blowing away sides in the 2nd half.

The key for Ulster is staying in the game. If they do that they can push on. Leinster have had a habit this season of landing killer blows either side of halftime. That’s when Ulster need to concentrate and defend with their lives. If Leinster can impose their game on the Ulstermen, the result will be inevitable. The replacements will be key, with both teams having their starting halfbacks on the bench.

One things for sure, the trophy will be going to an Irish side for the 8th time in 12 seasons.

We’ll Have Updates On Twitter Throughout The Game


Women’s National League Round 6 Round-Up

All 4 scheduled fixtures went ahead of the weekend in the Women’s National League. DLR Waves had a bye in this round.

Wexford Youths 3 – 0 Peamount United

Wexford Youths put themselves firmly in title contention after handing Peamount their first loss of the season, and just their 4th domestic loss of this and last campaign. Youngster Ellen Molly was called into the Ireland squad for the girls in green’s trip to Germany, she hit the net twice. Nicola Sinnott was also on the scoresheet.

We spoke to Wexford Youths captain Kylie Murphy about her lengthy footballing career, you can listen here.

Galway 1 – 1 Shelbourne

Galway became the first team to take points off Shels this season. Galway took the lead with a belter from Chloe Singleton on the 27th minute. Shels maintained their unbeaten start as they equalized on the hour mark through Jess Ziu.

Athlone Town 3 – 2 Treaty United

A Huge day for Athlone Town as they recorded their first ever Women’s National League win. Treaty United took the lead 3 minutes in after Aoife Horgan scored. Athlone pegged them back just after the 32 minute mark through Kaitlin Keogh. Athlone had an attack straight after but Treaty countered off a goal kick and scored through Aoife Horan. Treaty’s lead would last just 8 minutes as parity was restored through Paula Doran. Keillie Brennan will go down in history as the first scorer of a winner from Athlone, she took advantage from a defensive mix up straight after kick-off to score a tap-in.

Bohemians 3 – 4 Cork City

Cork picked up their first win of the season against a battling Bohemian’s side. Lauren Egbuloniu scored her first goal back from injury as Cork took the lead. Dring doubled the scoring minutes later, Cork went in at halftime 0 – 2 up. Goals from Robinson and Maxwell got Bohs back on level terms. Shine scored twice to restore Corks 2 goal lead. Maxwell got another back for Bohs, but the Dublin side couldn’t find an equalizer.


Upcoming Fixtures

Tuesday September 8th

Peamount v DLR Waves

Treaty United v Cork City

Saturday September 12th

DLR Waves v Bohemians

Peamount United – Galway

Sunday September 13th

Cork City – Athlone Town

Treaty United – Wexford Youths

[Shelbourne: Bye]

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