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Under-21s: Irish Downed At Donnybrook

Under-21s: Irish Downed At Donnybrook

Ireland’s Under-21s got the international weekend off to a bumpy start at Donnybrook on Friday as their English counterparts overwhelmed them 28-6.

Ireland’s Under-21s got the international weekend off to a bumpy start at Donnybrook on Friday as their English counterparts overwhelmed them 28-6.

Ireland Under-21 6 England Under-21 28, Donnybrook
Scorers: Ireland U-21: Pens: Barry Keeshan 2
England U-21: Tries: Tom Varndell 2, Olly Morgan 2, Michael Cusack; Pen: Toby Flood

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Ireland’s youngsters slumped to their second Six Nations defeat in two weeks as England ran in five tries to brighten up a dour Dublin affair.

Jim Mallinder’s side’s total would have been a lot more, had Newcastle starlet Toby Flood brought his kicking boots across the Irish sea – he conspired to miss eight kicks out of nine, but in the end, it proved immaterial.

Cork Constitution’s Barry Keeshan – deputising for injured captain and fly-half Gareth Steenson – kicked Ireland’s only points.

Mark McDermott’s men were 15-6 down at the break, as although Keeshan book-ended the scoring with his two penalty hits, the visitors ran in tries through Leeds prop Michael Cusack and backline flyers Tom Varndell and Olly Morgan.

The Irish defence, however dogged, had no answer and the sin-binnings of Buccaneers prop Michael Diffley – incurring the wrath of Welsh referee Tim Hayes for a technical offence – and Dungannon number eight Stephen Ferris – for a reckless tackle on Varndell – either side of the break, saw them breached again.

England, who lost lock Richard Blaze to the sin-bin on 54 minutes, watched Leicester’s Varndell and Gloucester full-back Morgan get in to double their try tallies, and confirm a badly-needed first win of the Championship.

For Ireland – whose best attacking threat came again and again from senior international Tommy Bowe – it’s heads down for the visit of France to Thomond Park in two weeks’ time.


(15) Mark Kettyle (Belfast Harlequins)
(14) Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins)
(13) Andrew Trimble (Ballymena)
(12) Greg Stafford (Lansdowne)
(11) Paul McKenzie (Belfast Harlequins)
(10) Barry Keeshan (Cork Constitution)
(9) David O’Leary (UCC)
(1) Michael Diffley (Buccaneers)
(2) Stuart Philpott (Saracens)

(3) John Andress (Belfast Harlequins)
(4) Lewis Stevenson (Belfast Harlequins)
(5) Ryan Caldwell (Dungannon)
(6) Brett McNamee (Northampton) (Captain)
(7) Oisin Hennessy (Dungannon)
(8) Stephen Ferris (Dungannon)

Replacements used: Eamonn Bracken (Buccaneers) for Ferris (29-41 mins), Kieran Geraghty (London Irish) for Kettyle (53), Joseph Merrigan (Corinthians) for Philpott (61), Chris Henry (Malone) for Hennessy (68), Bracken for Andress (76). Not used: Mark Melbourne (Garryowen), Paul Marshall (Ballynahinch), Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College).

Coach: Mark McDermott
Assistant Coach: Brian Walsh
Manager: David Haslett

ENGLAND UNDER-21: O Morgan (Gloucester); T Biggs (Leeds), M Cornwell (Leicester), R Davis (Bath), T Varndell (Leicester); T Flood (Newcastle), B Foden (Sale Sharks); M Cusack (Leeds), N Briggs (Rotherham), A Croall (Saracens), R Blaze (Worcester), T Ryder (Leicester), J Haskell (Wasps), D Seymour (Saracens), M Hopley (Worcester).

Replacements used: M Hampson (Leicester) for Cusack (48 mins), T Ojo (London Irish) for Varndell (64), S Cox (Sale Sharks) for Ryder (70), S Mackie (Newcastle) for Briggs, L Dickson (Newcastle) for Foden (both 73), S Whatling (Worcester) for Davis, R Thorpe (London Irish) for Hopley (both 76).

Sin-bins: Ireland: Michael Diffley (29-41 mins), Stephen Ferris (51-62); England: Richard Blaze (60-70)
Half-time: Ireland U-21 6 England U-21 15
Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales)

Friday’s other results:
France U-21 19 Wales U-21 20, Aurillac
Scotland U-21 38 Italy U-21 12, Inverness

Ireland U-21 2005 results:
Ireland U-21 33 Italy U-21 21
Scotland U-21 16 Ireland U-21 8

Fixtures to come:
Friday, March 11: Ireland U-21 v France U-21, Thomond Park, 7.30pm
Friday, March 18: Wales U-21 v Ireland U-21, The Gnoll, Neath, 7.00pm