Peter Melia's Ireland Schools team went down by 35-14 to Wales in the Under-18 Four Nations tournament in Gloucester on Tuesday.
U-18 FOUR NATIONS: Tuesday, April 18
IRELAND SCHOOLS 14 WALES U-18 35, Gloucester
Scorers: Ireland: Try: David Mongan; Pens: Andrew Burke 3
Wales: Tries: Leigh Halfpenny, Daniel Evans, Ryan Bevinton, Rhys Webb; Cons: Halfpenny 3; Pens: Halfpenny 3
The Irish management made nine changes to the starting side that lost to England (26-15) and similar to the England game, Ireland stormed into the lead. They put Wales under huge pressure in the first half and led 9-3 after half an hour thanks to three penalties from Crescent College's Andrew Burke.
But a late try by Wales wing Leigh Halfpenny with six minutes left in the half, which he converted himself, saw Wales go in at the break with a 10-9 lead.
That try turned out to be a defining moment, as the Ireland team seemed to be deflated after conceding that score. The momentum swung towards Wales and just two minutes into the second half, full-back Daniel Evans crossed for an unconverted try.
Halfpenny added two penalties, but Ireland were still well in the game before late Welsh converted tries from Ryan Bevinton and Rhys Webb put the result beyond doubt.
Ireland did cross in the dying minutes through Belvedere winger David Mongan, with Burke missing the conversion.
Melia's charges face Scotland in their final game of the tournament on Friday (April 21) in Cheltenham RFC's Prince of Wales Stadium (kick-off 2.00pm). The Irish team will be selected on Thursday.
IRELAND SCHOOLS: Adam Craig (RBAI); David Mongan (Belvedere College), Jamie Smith (Campbell College), Conor Cleary (St Michaels College), Patrick Brophy (St Michaels College); Andrew Burke (Crescent College), David Moore (Blackrock College); Patrick McCabe (Belvedere College), Michael Sherry (Ard Scoil Ris), Stephen Archer (CBC Cork), James Sandford (Royal School Armagh), Ken Hanley (Crescent College), Paul Ryan (Blackrock College), David Johnston (Methodist College) (capt), Jonathan Slattery (Belvedere College).
Replacements used: Kieran Essex (CBC Cork) for Paul Ryan, Scott Deasy (PBC Cork) for Conor Cleary (both half-time), Eoin O'Malley (Belvedere College) for Adam Craig, Paul Karayiannis (RBAI) for Stephen Archer, Stephen Douglas (RBAI) for Michael Sherry (all 45 mins), Michael Wilson (Rainey Endowed School) for David Moore (55), Patrick Mallon (St Michael's College) for Jonathon Slattery (60). Not used: Brian Cawley (Blackrock College), Matthew Nelson (Wallace High School), Christopher Quinn (Methodist College).
WALES UNDER-18: Daniel Evans (Amman Valley/Scarlets); James Egan (Whitchurch/Blues), Jason Tovey (Cwmcarn/Dragons), Rhys Williams (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Swansea College/Ospreys); James Thomas (Radyr/Blues), Rhys Webb (Brynteg/Ospreys); Ryan Bevington (Porthcawl/Ospreys), Huw Dowden (Tonyrefail/Blues), Scott Andrews (Y Pant/Blues), Hadyn Pugh (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets), Kyle Maiden (Pencoed College/Ospreys), Haloti Molitika (Brynteg/Ospreys), Nick Cudd (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets), Sam Warburton (Whitchurch/Blues) (capt).
Replacements: Patrick Palmer (Y Pant/Blues), Ricky Guest (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets), Phil Price (Brynteg/Ospreys), Lee Sims (Brynteg/Ospreys), Gareth Williams (Colstons/Blues), Phil Williams (Whitchurch/Blues), Matthew Lemon (Maes yr Yrfa/Scarlets), Jevon Groves (Y Pant/Blues), Nick Harwood (Bonymaen/Ospreys) Gruff Jones (Wellington College/Scarlets), Josh Williams (Monmouth/Dragons/Exiles).
Coach - Peter Melia (CBC Cork)
Assistant Coach - Paul Barr (PBC Cork)
Manager - Lorcan Balfe (De La Salle Churchtown)