12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
Up north, an injury time try from ful-back Tommy Bowe gave the 21s, a 20-21 victory while the A side needed an injury time penalty from full-back Mark McHugh to dash hopes of a Grand Slam for the hitherto unbeaten English side. And the victory in Donnybrook was every bit as dramatic as the senior side's win in Cardiff just six days earlier.
Ireland trailed 18-14 with ten minutes of normal time remaining and there seemed little on when McHugh collected a clearance on the halfway line on the stand touchline. He set off on the counter, linked with his backline going left, and Tyrone Howe somehow managed to scythe through the English defence for as good a try as will be seen all weekend. Brian O'Meara converted and Ireland led 21-18. England roared back downfield and with time aplenty Alex King looked odds on to equalize with a drop goal, but his effort flew wide much to the delight of the vociferous home support. Minutes later Ireland drifted offside and King made no mistake to tie the game 21 points apiece with the clock now counting injury time.
But the Irish refused to settle for a share of the spoils. They set up an attacking platform on half-way, and when the penalty was conceded McHugh stepped up to knock over the winning penalty.
It was a win that owed much to the courage and grim determination of an Irish side who looked down and out when they trailed 18-11 after Dan Scarbrough scored a try in the 53rd minute and the resolve that was shown in Dublin was being replicated in Belfast where Mick Bradley's Under 21s found themselves trailing 20-6 after an hour and looking down the barell of a gun. To their immense credit they composed themselves, had a try from John Hearty in the 68th minute which Michael Rainey converted and Rainey's penalty five miinutes later set up a pulsating climax.
The winning try arrived a little over two minutes into stoppage time and it was set up by Barry Murphy and Keith Mathews who combined to put the Queens full-back Bowe away for the winning try.