IRELAND U-18 CLUBS XV 5 FRANCE U-18 12, Stadio Comunale di Monigo (Att: 4,000)
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Dominic Gallagher
France: Tries: Kevin Gourdan, Romain Taofifenua; Con: Gilles Bosch
While it did not have the drama of last year's decider, when Ireland lost 4-3 to France in a penalty shoot-out, Saturday's clash between the tournament's top two seeds was full of good quality rugby.
This was a hard-fought game, played in front of 4,000 spectators at the home of Italian club Benetton Treviso, and after both sides had early spells of dominance, the French struck for their opening try.
Ireland's fringe defence gave way in the 24th-minute as France number 8 Kevin Gourdan powered over for an unconverted try.
With Niall Earls kicking well and the Irish pack enjoying a ding-dong battle with their opponents, it was all set up for a titanic second half as the French took a 5-0 lead into the break.
However, Ireland's plans were scuppered just six minutes after the resumption when lock Romain Taofifenua broke free to crash over the whitewash, with Gilles Bosch able to convert for a 12-0 score-line.
Ireland then dug deep to get themselves back into contention. They noticeably upped the tempo and were rewarded for their endeavour when industrious flanker Dominic Gallagher grabbed a 67th-minute try.
The conversion was missed and although the boys in green ended the game in French territory, a levelling try eluded them as France claimed back-to-back titles.
IRELAND U-18 CLUBS XV: Luke O'Dea (Shannon/Munster); Gavin Nyawata (Naas/Leinster), Andrew Boyle (St. Brigid's/Leinster), David Lynch (Naas/Leinster), Robert Kennedy (Longford/Leinster); Niall Earls (Wicklow/Leinster), Adam Kennedy (Buccaneers/Connacht); James Robinson (Corinthians/Connacht) (capt), Karl Egan (Corinthians/Connacht), Kieran Brookes (Fylde/Exiles), Shane Casey (Castlebar/Connacht), Dean Landy (Carrick-on-Suir/Munster), Dominic Gallagher (Lisburn/Ulster), James Stephenson (London Irish/Exiles), Josh Bennett (Gloucester/Exiles)
Replacements used: Aidan Mulligan (Bective Rangers/Leinster) for Bennett (half-time), Eoin Griffin (Corinthians/Connacht) for Boyle (42 mins), Paul Molloy (Waterpark/Munster) for Brookes (48), Tchad Collins Francois (Truro College/Exiles) for R Kennedy, Callum McKie (Brentwood/Exiles) for Lynch (both 52), Fergal Lynch (Virginia/Ulster) for Molloy (66), Mark Dolan (Buccaneers/Connacht) for A Kennedy (70). Not used: Declan Farrell (Leeds Carnegie/Exiles), James Simpson (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Aaron Spring (Sligo/Connacht), Kailyn Domican (Naas/Leinster).