Playing in an area where a bush fire has been burning for two days, the Irish Schools nearly got burned by a surprisingly competitive Queensland President’s XV, before coming through 30-19.
The Ireland Schoolboys achieved the second victory on their Australian Tour with a hard earned victory over a Queensland Schools’ President’s XV at Noosa RFC on Wednesday evening.
The game was played in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd in ideal conditions.
Queensland applied the early pressure on an Irish team which showed eleven changes to the team which defeated NSW Country in the first game.
Following a break from scrum-half Joe Burns, Ireland gained territory and following a flowing backline move winger Rory Drysdale went in for a try after 14 minutes which was converted by full back Conor Gildea to give Ireland a 7-0 lead.
This spurred the Queensland team into action and they came storming back to score two goals after 27 and 30 minutes. Ireland responded positively to this setback and No 8 Darren O’Reilly scored twice in quick succession, with Conor Gildea converting one of the tries to give Ireland a 19-14 lead at half-time.
Ireland started strongly at the start of the second half and full back Conor Gildea stepped up to extend the Irish lead with a well-struck penalty after a Queensland player had been penalised. Ireland held a territorial advantage and their lead was further increased when hooker Gavin O’Meara got the touchdown for an unconverted try to put Ireland 27-14 into the lead 25 minutes into the second half.
Ireland made a few tactical changes in the course of the second half with Devin Toner, Tom Gleeson and Darren Cave all coming on to replace Jamie Cornett, Jonathan Shortt and Fionn Carr.
Four minutes from time Queensland scored the try of the game with a flowing length of the pitch movement but Ireland responded with good pressure and in the closiong minute of the game Conor Gildea kicked another penalty to give a very relieved Ireland team a 30-19 victory.
This morning the Ireland boys are training at Noosa RFC before departing for Brisbane.
They have been superbly well looked after by the good people of Noosa RFC and our thanks are due to everyone in Noosa involved with this leg of the tour.