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Last Updated: Monday, 26 December 2005, 18:42 GMT
Ulster 19-24 Leinster
Brian O'Driscoll breaks clear of Kevin Maggs in Monday's game
Ulster (13) 19
Try: Bowe
Cons: Humphreys
Pens: Humphreys (4)
Leinster (9) 24
Tries: D'Arcy, Dempsey
Cons: Contepomi
Pens: Contepomi (4)
Brian O'Driscoll returned to action as Leinster edged out Ulster in Monday's Celtic League clash at Ravenhill.

O'Driscoll made little impression following his second half introduction but crucially appeared to suffer no ill-effects after his injury lay-off.

A superb Tommy Bowe try helped Ulster lead 13-9 at half-time.

However, second half tries from Gordon D'Arcy and Girvan Dempsey turned the game in Leinster's favour although Ulster did earn a bonus point.

Two early Felipe Contepomi penalties put Leinster 6-0 ahead but Ulster replied in spectacular fashion in the 28th minute with Bowe touching down in the corner after Andrew Trimble's superb break.

David Humphreys added the conversion and his two further penalties, split by a Contepomi score, left Ulster 13-9 ahead at the interval.

However, Leinster hit back straight after half-time with D'Arcy finishing off a flowing move also involving Dempsey and Robert Kearney.

Dempsey then turned finisher in the 62nd minute by completing another sensational move with the excellent Contepomi and D'Arcy again involved.

Contepomi's conversion extended Leinster's lead to 21-13 and while Humphreys cut the margin to two points with two penalties, the Argentine fly-half had the final scoring say late on with another three-pointer.

  • Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll:
    "I felt pretty good out there. It wasn't the quickest game in the world which probably suited me. It's a game that I've been looking forward to and it's great to get it under my belt.

    "It's only 30 minutes play so you can't get too far ahead of yourself. It's going to take five or six games to get the match-fitness but hopefully I'll get a bit more pitch-time against Munster at the weekend."

  • Ulster coach Mark McCall:
    "We're very disappointed to have lost. In the first half, we played reasonably well but we had a very poor period in the 20 minutes after half-time.

    "We came back towards the end and created a few opportunities but it wasn't to be."

    Ulster: B Cunningham; T Bowe, K Maggs, A Trimble, P Steinmetz; D Humphreys, I Boss; B Young, R Best, S Best (capt), J Harrison, M McCullough, N Best, N McMillan, R Wilson.
    Replacements: J Fitzpatrick for Young 55 mins. Not Used: N Brady, R Caldwell, S Ferris, K Campbell, A Larkin, J Topping.

    Leinster: G Dempsey, B Burke, G D'Arcy, K Lewis, R Kearney, F Contepomi, G Easterby, R McCormack, B Blaney, W Green, B Williams, M O'Kelly, C Jowitt, K Gleeson, J Heaslip.
    Replacements: B O'Driscoll for Kearney 51, D Blaney for B Blaney 45, E Byrne for Green 57, B Gissing for O'Riordan 76, E Miller for Jowitt 51, B O'Riordan for Heaslip 68. Not Used: J Hepworth.

    Sin Bin: Easterby 68

    Att: 12,500

    Referee: George Clancy (IRFU).



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