22/03/02.Ten points conceded in the opening minutes of the second half, when they led 19-7, sent the Ireland U19s crashing to a 27-24 defeat against host nation Italy in Treviso yesterday.
It was a disappointing outcome to a game that they seemed to have well within their grasp when they led at the interval by twelve points. Team manager Michael Cunningham, ” We got off to a good start and scored three nice tries. We looked to be in control at half time and all we needed was to score first after the break and the game was effectively over. Instead we conceded 10 points in the first five minutes and let them right back into the game.”
The good start Cunningham referred to saw the Willie Anderson coached Irish take the lead on six minutes with a try from London Irish left-wing Edward Hoadley. That was followed by a second try from right-wing Richard Lane (UCC) in the 24th minute as the Irish spread the ball wide at every opportunity. Scrum-half Daragh Geraghty (UCD) added the popints to that score and was on target again when Hoadley scooted in for his second try just before the interval.
The home side clawed their way back to within two points (19-17) before the Irish extended the lead following a try in the 60th minute from Edinburgh University flanker Richard Simms.
However, the home side then closed the gap with a penalty and, much to the delight of their supporters, scored a converted try two minutes into injury time to snatch victory.
The best finish the Irish can now hope for is ninth place and given they had set a target of a top five finish, this represents a huge disappointment. They play Korea on Sunday afternoon while the Italians go on to play the defending champions New Zealand.