ITALY U-18 3 IRELAND U-18 SCHOOLS 29, Stadio XXV Aprile, Parma
Scorers: Italy: Pen: Alberto Bonifazi
Ireland: Tries: Sam Coughlan Murray 2, Alex Kelly, Aaron Spring; Cons: James McKinney 3; Pen: James McKinney
It was a match of muscle versus skill and it was Ireland Schools that had the latter. Their slick play eventually put paid to the notion that Italy could impose themselves physically on the game.
Speaking afterwards, Ireland head coach Paul Barr said: "We knew we had to match them physically and we did.
"We struggled a bit in the first half but in the second half we were much more composed and began to find gaps in their defence."
The Irish schoolboys looked the better of the two sides but it was not until ten minutes before half-time that they scored their first points with a penalty goal from out-half James McKinney.
Then, just before the interval, scrum half Harry Doyle came desperately close to scoring with a clever chip ahead after his own break.
Doyle, however, was adjudged to have knocked on but from the ensuing five-metre scrum Ireland won a tighthead strike that gave them priceless possession.
They turned that possession into a try thanks to some finger-tip handling and precise finishing by winger Sam Coughlan Murray for a 8-0 interval lead.
Coughlan Murray made it a brace minutes into the second half. His fellow wing Chris Colvin ignited a counter attack and centre Tiarnan O'Halloran cut open the Italy defence before supplying the scoring pass to Coughlan Murray.
The try was converted from the touchline by McKinney but almost immediately after the restart Italy showed their goal-kicking skills with a 40-metre penalty kick from number 10 Alberto Bonifazi.
Italy showed skills when winger Tommaso Castello was released up the right touchline but good defence by McKinney brought an end to a potentially dangerous situation.
McKinney then showed his flair with a defence-splitting break before passing to lock Shane Buckley whose flipped pass out-of-the-tackle gave replacement centre Alex Kelly his second try of the tournament, converted by McKinney.
Ireland had time for a further score, a try by replacement Aaron Spring from a penalty-created lineout in the corner and a concerted drive by the Irish pack.
McKinney added the extras to complete a fine performance that earned him the man-of-the-match award.
With their confidence high after wins over Wales and hosts Italy, Ireland's final outing of the competition will be against England in Colorno on Saturday.
ITALY U-18: Alessandro Tartaglia; Tommaso Castello, Francesco Menon, Augusto Cosulich, Luigi Secchi Villa; Alberto Bonifazi, Vittorio Callori Di Vignale; Maurizio Aluigi, Andrea Lupetti (capt), Piermaria Leso, Alfio Luca Mammana, Gianmarco Duca, Matteo Dell'acqua, Nicolo Luxardo, Matteo Ferro.
Replacements used: Alessandro Furio, Jacopo Tassara, Marco Bercich, Marco Fuser, Guglielmo Palazzani.
IRELAND U-18 SCHOOLS: Ferdia Doherty (Gonzaga College/Leinster); Chris Colvin (Royal School Armagh/Ulster), Tiarnan O'Halloran (Cistercian Roscrea/Leinster), Ben Sargent (Crescent CC/Munster), Sam Coughlan Murray (Newbridge College/Leinster); James McKinney (Campbell College/Ulster), Harry Doyle (Royal School Armagh/Ulster); Rory Harrison (Methodist College/Ulster), Niall Scannell (Presentation College/Munster) (capt), Conor Carey (Methodist College/Ulster), David O'Mahony (Presentation College/Munster), Shane Buckley (Rockwell College/Munster), Emmet McMahon (St. Michael's College/Leinster), David Doyle (Gonzaga College/Leinster), Colin Mallon (St. Michael's College/Leinster).
Replacements used: Jodi Murphy (Blackrock College/Leinster) for McMahon (half-time), James Tracy (Newbridge College/Leinster) for Harrison, Alex Kelly (St. Michael's College/Leinster) for Sargent (both 53 mins), Aaron Spring (Sligo Grammar School/Connacht) for Buckley (56), Niall Annett (Methodist College/Ulster) for D Doyle, Paddy Marks (RBAI/Ulster) for Murphy (both 61).
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Manager - Lorcan Balfe
Coach - Paul Barr
Assistant Coach - Kenny Hooks
Ireland Under-18 Schools Results/Fixtures -
Sunday, April 12: Wales 15 Ireland 22, Parma
Wednesday, April 15: Italy 3 Ireland 29, Parma
Saturday, April 18 (England v Ireland) Colorno kick-off 4pm