10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
The Ireland Under 18 Club team, in its first competitive match of the season, faced a strong Scottish U 18 side, drawn from schools and clubs. This Scottish team will face Ireland Schools in the 4 Nations Tournament later this month.
The Scottish side, who had played 2 Internationals prior to this match, started strongly and kept the Irish side under pressure for the opening minutes dominating early possession and it came as no real surprise when they eventually outflanked the Irish defence to score an unconverted try in the left hand corner.
The Irish team, well led by captain David Foley, slowly fought their way back into the game dominating possession and territory for the final quarter of the first half. Unfortunately missed penalty opportunities meant they turned round at half time 5-0 down.
The Irish started the second half the way they had finished the first, dominating possession and territory. Persistent Irish pressure on the Scottish defence resulted in Ireland being awarded a series of penalties, 3 of which were converted by centre Eamon Sheridan to give them a well-deserved 9-5 lead.
Scotland, to their credit, never gave up and in the closing minutes they scored a vital second try, which they converted, to make the score 12-9 in their favour. Minutes later, to the disappointment of the large crowd of Irish supporters, the French referee blew the whistle to signal the end of what was a very encouraging and courageous performance from the Irish U 18 Club team on its first outing.
Coach, Greg Lynch and Manager David Eakin were pleased with the overall team performance against a more experienced Scottish side in a match which was used as preparation for Ireland's first ever participation in the FIRA Under 18 European Tournament which is being staged in Treviso, Italy from the 9th to15th April. The Irish boys face a tough opening match against the host nation, Italy on 9th April.