Despite the conditions-driving wind and intermittent snow showers-and the early morning start (10.00 a.m) the Irish boys playing their first international came back from a 6-0 half time deficit to defeat Scotland by 10 points to 6.
The Scots playing with the strong wind in the first half settled much more quickly and dominated the early possession and territory. However determined Irish tackling and good organisation ensured the Scots were unable to breach the visitorâ00s defence. Ireland, despite the unfortunate loss of out half Elliott Oâ00Brien (Exiles) to injury-he was replaced by Rory Stynes after 10 minutes- gradually began to settle and Eamon Sheridan was just short with a long range penalty into the strong wind. Another injury, this time to scrum half Adam Kennedy, replaced by Charlie Mulchrone , caused further disruption to the Irish side.
These enforced changes helped Scotland reach half time with a 6-0 led through two well taken penalties.
Ireland, who had made two changes at half time replacing loose head prop Jason East with Gavin Duffy and hooker Joe MacManus with Paul Molloy started the second half in confident fashion with out half Rory Stynes using the wind to keep the Scots pinned inside their own half. Despite the rather harsh sin binning of replacement prop Gavin Duffy after 5 minutes the Irish forwards continued to take the game to Scotland mainly through some excellent work by open side flanker Dave Mc Gregor who turned over the Scots on a number of occasions.
Prop James Robinson came on for blindside flanker Sean Dougall whilst Duffy was still in the bin. Ireland were awarded a lineout 5 metres from the Scottish line and after securing possession their driving maul was brought down as a try seemed inevitable. From the resulting penalty the Irish took another lineout and this time the Scots were unable to stop the Irish pack who scored a try through replacement hooker Paul Molloy. It was converted by Irish captain Eamon Sheridan to give the Irish team a well deserved 7-6 lead. With Gavin Duffy restored to the fray the Irish management made a few more changes leaving James Robibson on for Conor Higgins, Seamus Mc Kimm replaced Sean Dougall and lock Michael Lenihan replaced Charlie Armstrong.
The Irish boys were growing in confidence and despite the poor conditions which made handling difficult they attacked the Scottish backline with Eoghan Conran, Eamon Sheridan and Colm Brady forcing the Scots to work hard in defence to keep their line in tact. Shortly after Matt Keville entered the match replacing Danny Barnes captain Eamon Sheridan, who had seen an earlier long range penalty attempt from inside his own half fall just under the bar, increased Irelandâ00s lead with a well struck penalty. With Dave Mc Gregor continuing to win ball for the Irish at the breakdown the team spent most of the latter stages of the match in the Scottish half despite making a raft of late substitutions which saw John Dever replace Dermot Murphy, David Mc Ilwaine coming in for John Oâ00Brien and Aengus Oâ00Connell replacing Colm Brady.
This was the teamâ00s final preparation match before heading off to Dax (France) for the U 18 European Championships organised by FIRA. The Irish boys are seeded fourth and face Georgia in their first match on Sunday 1 April. If the win they will face the winners of the England v Portugal match. England are the present U 18 European Champions.
|15||J O'Brien||Connemara||1||J East||Sligo|
|14||D Barnes||Tralee||2||J MacManus||London Irish|
|13||E Sheridan (Capt)||Navan||3||C Higgins||Ballinasloe|
|12||E Conran||Naas||4||C Armstrong||Penzance|
|11||C Brady||Kilkenny||5||M Flanagan||Mullingar|
|10||E O'Brien||London Wasps||6||S Dougall||Newcastle Falcolns|
|9||A Kennedy||Buccaneers||7||D Mc Gregor||Monaghan|
|16||G Duffy||Sundays Well||22||C Mulchrone||St Ambrose College|
|17||J Robinson||Corinthians||23||R Stynes||Carlow|
|18||P Molloy||Waterpark||24||M Keville||London Wasps|
|19||M Lenihan||Mallow||25||D Mc Ilwaine||Larne|
|20||J Dever||Tallaght||26||A O'Connell||Corinthians|
|21||S Mc Kimm||RGS High Wycombe|