The Irish Exiles U19’s played their Welsh counterparts at Old Deer Park, the home of London Welsh RFC, Sunday 24th October….
The Irish Exiles U19’s played their Welsh counterparts at Old Deer Park, the home of London Welsh RFC, Sunday 24th October. Although there was a strong wind blowing down the pitch the game was played in sunshine and on a good surface. The Welsh were a very big side and early indications suggested that the Irish might be out-muscled. This fear was dispelled at the first scrum when Ireland U18 international loose head Callum Black ably supported by tight head Brendan Lynch shunted the Welsh 8 backwards. This scrummaging power continued throughout the game even with a change of front row forwards. In Black, Lynch and Cornish man Joe McGovern, who can play either side of the scrum, the Exiles have three U19 props who can emulate the achievements of their recent predecessors, Declan Fitzpatrick and Stephen Bennett who played for Ireland at U19 and U21.
The first half of the game was evenly contested with some excellent football from both sides. A wonderful piece of approach play and slick hands saw the Exiles score their first try through Dutchman Johan van Breda, a Dutch U18 international, in the corner. The Welsh quickly responded and their right wing Rees touched down for a Welsh try.
The game then ebbed back and forward between the two 22 metre lines before the Irish added two more unconverted tries through Peter Madigan and Tom Cleary.
The Welsh responded with a converted try bringing the score to Welsh 13, Irish 15 at half-time.
For the first 20 minutes of the second half the Irish played some wonderful football with forwards and backs equally comfortable on the ball. Their ability to keep the ball alive and find space saw the Irish run in three tries through Dave Moore, Peter Madigan and Dan Neville. The Welsh contested fiercly but could not stem the flow of the Exiles game with Dan Neville adding another try to bring the final score to Irish Exiles 35, Welsh Exiles 13.
The composition of the Exiles team gives an indication of how far we are spreading our search net with Nik Gallagher from Scotland, Joe Mcgovern from Cornwall, Johan van Breda from Holland, Joe Walker from Manchester and Oliver Lancaster from Harrogate.
The match was attended by Michael Cunningham, the Ireland U19 Manager, and David Eakin, the Ireland U18 Manager, both of whom thought their visit was well worth while.