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Leinster

  • Madigan,
    Penalty goals: Gopperth (2),
    Conversions: Gopperth,
13 - 9

Ulster


  • Penalty goals: Jackson (3),
  • Guinness PRO12
  • Semi-final
  • 17th May 2014
  • KO 19:00
  • Ground: The Greenyards
  • Att: 18,500

RaboDirect Pro12: Leinster beat Ulster to return to final showdown

Last updated: 17th May 2014  

Ruan Pienaar Cian Healy Ulster Leinster

Leinster edged out Ulster again

Ian Madigan Leinster Ulster pro12

Ian Madigan: Match winner for Leinster in Dublin

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Ian Madigan settled a tight RaboDirect PRO12 semi-final in Leinster's favour with his late try handing them a 13-9 win over Ulster and set up a final clash with Glasgow.

Madigan, who replaced a groggy Brian O'Driscoll for the closing half-hour, unlocked the visitors' defence with an O'Driscoll-esque break to put Leinster in front for the first time with just eight minutes left to play.

Jimmy Gopperth converted and Leinster's defiant defence held the Ulstermen at bay in a frantic finish, with the result keeping alive O'Driscoll's dreams of a fourth PRO12 title.

The comeback win ensured that the retiring O'Driscroll - a league winner in 2001, 2008 and 2013 - will have his career swansong when Leinster host Glasgow Warriors in the May 31 final.

His long-time centre partner Gordon D'Arcy ended the first half in the sin-bin, with Ulster full value for their 6-0 interval lead thanks to two Paddy Jackson penalties.

Out of sorts

Out-of-sorts Leinster fell further behind following a third Jackson kick, but they came to the fore in the closing stages despite losing backs O'Driscoll, Fergus McFadden and Dave Kearney in an attritional derby clash.

Leinster have been Ulster's knockout nemeses in recent seasons, defeating their provincial rivals in league and Heineken Cup finals and now two league semi-finals (2011 and 2014).

Incredibly, it will be Leinster's fifth straight league final appearance as they bid to become the first team to successfully retain the trophy. The RDS will host the decider for the fourth time in five seasons.

D'Arcy saw yellow for a late tackle on his Ireland colleague Bowe six minutes before the break, allowing Ulster to dominate up to the half-time whistle.

Snappy passing released Jared Payne and Craig Gilroy to take Ulster back into the Leinster 22 and Jackson punished a Reddan offside with the last kick of the half.

Second half

The second period burst into life with strong carries from Trimble and Healy, D'Arcy's return briefly steadying the Leinster ship as the jinking Gilroy grew in influence.

There was concern for O'Driscoll who was left prone after an awkward tackle on Henderson. The record Irish caps holder received a rapturous reception as he was replaced by Madigan.

A frustrating night for Leinster's centre duo continued as D'Arcy came in from an offside position and Jackson mopped up with the three points. However, the Ulster out-half had to hobble off soon after with James McKinney - the match winner against Munster - coming on.

Despite the disruption, Matt O'Connor's men managed to turn the screw as Madigan was fed to burst in between McKinney and Payne and score the only try of the night. Gopperth nailed the important conversion from the left, leaving Ulster four points adrift.

Best and company threw the kitchen sink at the home side in the dying minutes, Payne being held up just short and two lineout mauls were also thwarted as Leinster's superior defence just about won out in the end.

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Forthcoming Guinness PRO12 Fixtures
TimeFixture
Guinness PRO12
Friday 5th September
Guinness PRO12
19:35Munster vs Edinburgh
19:35Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso
Saturday 6th September
14:40Scarlets vs Ulster
17:00Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons
17:15Glasgow vs Leinster
Sunday 7th September
17:00Zebre vs Cardiff Blues
Friday 12th September
19:35Ulster vs Zebre
19:35Edinburgh vs Connacht
19:35Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys
20:00Benetton Treviso vs Munster
Saturday 13th September
14:40Leinster vs Scarlets
Sunday 14th September
16:00Cardiff Blues vs Glasgow
Friday 19th September
19:30Munster vs Zebre
19:35Connacht vs Leinster
19:35Cardiff Blues vs Ulster
Saturday 20th September
TBCScarlets vs Benetton Treviso
14:40Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow
Sunday 21st September
16:00Ospreys vs Edinburgh
Friday 26th September
19:35Leinster vs Cardiff Blues
19:35Glasgow vs Connacht
19:35Edinburgh vs Scarlets
Saturday 27th September
16:00Zebre vs Ulster
18:30Munster vs Ospreys
Sunday 28th September
16:00Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso
Friday 3rd October
19:35Ulster vs Edinburgh

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