Charlie McAleese’s Ireland Under-19s drew 8-8 with their Italian counterparts in Parma on Sunday, in what was their final international warm-up match before next month’s IRB U-19 World Championship.
UNDER-19 FRIENDLY MATCH: Sunday, March 19
ITALY U-19 8 IRELAND U-19 8, Gran Parma Moletolo
Scorers: Italy: Try: Marcello Magri; Pen: Riccardo Bocchino
Ireland: Try: Stephen Douglas; Pen: Eoin O’Malley
Ireland twice went in front at the Gran Parma Moletolo ground, with UCD centre Eoin O’Malley kicking a second-minute penalty and hooker Stephen Douglas from Ballymena powering over for a 15th-minute try which went unconverted.
But with try-scoring chances at a premium, the Italians defended well and deservedly secured a share of the spoils. They levelled at 3-3 thanks to a Riccardo Bocchino penalty and full-back Marcello Magri dotted down the home side’s only try, eight minutes into the second half.
Disappointingly, the Irish failed to capitalise when Italy had two players sin-binned – Magri was yellow carded 19 minutes into the first half, and just past the hour mark, the Azzurri lost the services of flanker Simone Favaro for ten minutes.
The IRB U-19 World Championship takes place in Belfast and Bangor from April 4 to 21, and Ireland face defending champions Australia in their opening in Pool A.
IRELAND U-19: Adam Craig (Instonians); Niall Morris (Blackrock College RFC), Eoin O’Malley (UCD), Murray Kinsella (Newtown School, Waterford), Alan Gaughan (Buccaneers); Darragh Fitzpatrick (Blackrock College), Kris Greene (St. Mary’s College RFC); Paul Karayiannis (RBAI/Queen’s University), Stephen Douglas (Ballymena), Matthew Nelson (Ballynahinch), Brian Cawley (UCD), David Foley (UL Bohemians RFC), Kieran Essex (CBC Cork/UCC), Michael Entwistle (Ballymena), Paul Ryan (Blackrock College RFC) (capt).
Replacements used: Tommy Seymour (Down High School) for Gaughan, Jamie Smith (Ballymena) for Fitzpatrick, David Moore (Blackrock College RFC) for Greene, Jason Harris-Wright (Blackrock College) for Entwistle, Ian Nagle (Glenstal Abbey) for Cawley, Michael Sherry (Ard Scoil Ris/Garryowen) for Douglas. Not used: Martin Dufficy (Dublin University), Jan Simon Byrne (Blackrock College), Stephen Archer (UCD), Patrick McCabe (Dublin University), David Johnston (Belfast Harlequins).
Head Coach – Charlie McAleese
Manager – Gerard Slattery
Assistant Coach – Bobby Byrne
Defence Coach – Kurt McQuilkin
Doctor – Tim O’Flanagan
Physiotherapists – Shane Collins, Josh Hoopes
Fitness Advisor – Ray Egan
Technical Analyst – Derek Suffern