Tag Archives: ulster

Jackson leads Ulster to crucial victory over Leinster

A stunning performance from half-back partnership Paddy Jackson and Ruan Pienaar left Ulster to a priceless 30-6 victory over provincial rivals Leinster on Saturday.

At a packed out Kingspan Stadium, the Northern Province knew that only a win would keep their title winning hopes alive. In the penultimate weekend of the Guinness Pro-12 season, Ulster’s hopes of a semi-final berth hung in the balance.

Early in the game, it was the southern visitors that applied the early pressure but they failed to capitalise, penalised for holding on five metres from Ulster’s line. It was Ulster who then struck first blood with a Jackson penalty, which was shortly followed by a penalty try.

From then on, Leinster were always chasing the game, two penalties before half-time from outside half Jonathan Sexton kept them in the hunt. However, it was ultimately Ulster’s dogged defenced which ensured victory for the men in white.

Sustaining early pressure near their try line at the start of both halves frustrated Sexton and co, and it wasn’t long before Ulster applied their own second half pressure. A sweeping move involving Pienaar, Jackson and Luke Marshall sent fullback Jared Payne over for the try which really killed the game off as a contest.

Fittingly, it was Ulster’s 24-year-old fly half Jackson who had the final say on this occasion. He rounded off a fine individual performance both in defence, attack and from the tee firstly through a thumping tackle on Ian Madigan. Then, moments later, it was Jackson who intercepted a Leinster pass before displaying great speed to race the length of the pitch for the game’s final try.

In front of the on-looking Joe Schmidt, Jackson was clearly the standout number 10 on a field which consisted of the two men, Sexton and Madigan, who in recent times have been the preferred choices of Schmidt for a place in the Ireland squad.

It was a performance that kept Ulster’s season alive. They now go to Wales to play the Ospreys, knowing that a victory there will see them into the Semi Final stage.

In a season of inconsistency from an Ulster side who on paper should be a match for anyone in the Northern Hemisphere, this result suggested how good a side they could really be. With one more week of the regular season remaining, it really is all to play for, for the Ulstermen.

Ten hour mountain bike race for Glenarm in Antrim

Northern Irish mountain bikers will have their endurance tested in a ten hour race taking place in Glenarm, Co. Antrim as part of the Dalriada Festival on July 23.

The event, known as “10 in the Glen”, involves solo mountain bike riders or teams competing to complete as many laps of a 6km loop as they can in ten hours. While similar events have taken place in England, Scotland and Wales, this is the first race of this scale in Northern Ireland.

The course in Glenarm consists of sections of single speed track, gravel trails and forest runs, suitable for both novice and intermediate mountain bikers. Each team and solo rider will be designated a pit area along the race track for making repairs and resting up between laps.

Ian Cumming, Director of 26 Extreme, a company that runs outdoor events, is managing the race on behalf of the Dalriada Festival. He explained that while events like these are usually “slow to get going”, spaces for the competition are already a quarter full over three months out from race day.

He confirmed that the race will be part of the finale for the Dalriada Festival. He added: “Along with fireworks planned to close the festival, the final few laps should add to the party atmosphere”.

Depending on the success of this year’s event, Mr Cumming is planning to run the ten hour race annually in Glenarm. He is also considering organising similar events in other locations in the province to take place more frequently.

Kevin Purcell, member of Coventry Road Cycling Club, will be travelling from England to compete in the race as part of a team. Mr Purcell, originally from Donegal, was delighted that such an event was being held in Ulster. He said: “We are lucky in Ulster to have such great trails for mountain biking and it is about time a competition like this was organised”.

For more information about the race including entry forms, log on to www.26extreme.com.

Ulster dreams crushed by Saracens

Ulster 15 Saracens 17

Ravenhill came alive for Ulster’s Heineken Cup quarter-final clash with Saracens.

Ulster clearly fed off the crowd’s energy and started the match with a high intensity approach.  Unfortunately, they paid for their aggression after just 5 minutes when Jared Payne saw red for a collision with Saracen’s full-back Alex Goode. While the offence itself was probably worthy of just a yellow, it seems the extent of Goode’s injury, who had to be stretchered off, forced the referee’s hand.

Ulster’s misery was compounded when Rory Best hobbled off with what appeared to be an ankle problem. Ruan Pienaar was also clearly struggling with his shoulder injury that had saw him sidelined for the last few weeks, but the South African managed to put Ulster in the lead with a well-taken penalty on the 15th minute.

Payne’s sending off forced Chris Henry into outhalf for Ulster, and it was the space he would have been occupying that saw Chris Ashton burst through to score Saracens’ first try. The Englishman’s trademark swan dive was met with contempt courtesy of the silenced Ulster crowd.

Ulster recovered magnificently for the rest of the half, putting on a very impressive display despite being a man down. Pienaar converted two penalties to put the hosts in the lead for the start of the second half. Saracens’ passed up many chances to utilise their man advantage down the flanks and were visibly frustrated.

Ulster opted to play the kicking game in the second half, but their plans were undone when a stray corner attempt saw Saracens’ work the ball back up the field for Mouritz Botha to stroll over the line. Owen Farrell, who had been on the receiving end of a rough reception from the Ulster faithful, missed his third kick of the night.

Saracens’ attacked the Ulster backline again and only for a textbook bit of play to hold up Schalk Brits on the line, would have extended their lead further. Unfortunately, it could not be repeated as Ashton again burst through the open space thanks to the man advantage to score their third try of the night.  Farrell landed the conversion.

The game got messy as Ulster went for it and Paddy Jackson, who had replaced Ruan Pienaar, scored two penalties to put Ulster within reach. Unfortunately, one last drive saw Saracens steal the ball at a lineout to keep Ulster at bay.

Fun for all the family exploring the past. Cultra Review

Nothing rivals a spring day spent outdoors with friends exploring beautiful parklands and learning about traditions of times gone by, and Cultra Ulster Folk and Transport Museum will provide such a pleasure. Visit the Website

On a bank holiday, the visitor attraction is a hive of activity. First impressions are positive with friendly and welcoming reception staff, plus the added bonus that entrance to both museums cost only £9 for adults and £5 for children.

Boredom isn’t an issue inside the museum with plenty to keep all age groups entertained. Buying sweets the old fashioned way in an authentic sweet shop or visiting an old style cinema are some of many things to discover in old style Ballycultra town. Visitors can also ‘receive their sentence’ in court or be sent to the ‘dunce corner’ of the traditional schoolroom. However if mischievous behaviour is not befitting of you, then the church house, with the singing of traditional psalms, would be more appropriate.

Other spectacles include an old time police station, drapers’ shop, and a carpenters’ workshop where visitors will observe a costumed guide demonstrating his trade. There are special activities provided on holidays. A magic show will keep the children intrigued while others experience Victorian style fashion by dressing up in traditional clothes.

When exploring living conditions and countryside of yesteryear, visitors can appreciate the luxuries we have today. Inspecting small houses that typically would have homed large families, while turning a hand to making soda bread and butter from scratch, you can gain an excellent impression of life 100 years ago. On the farm, visitors can pet pigs, lambs and chicks plus roll Easter eggs, an activity not just enjoyed by the children! The museum’s Facebook page will give further details of special events.

The Transport Museum is an impressive building with many attractions. However one drawback is transferring between Ballycultra and the Transport Museum. There is a complementary shuttle bus that operates between the two museums however, this is small and often runs at irregular times, meaning that a long, uphill walk is necessary back to the carpark.

Facilities are first class with a 4* restaurant on site and many public toilets. Opening times are 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday from May through September, therefore with all its various attractions, the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum provides a great day out for everyone.

For other great days out, visit Discover Northern Ireland.

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