The Ireland Under-18 Club side continued their great run of form in the FIRA-AER U18 Championship in France by defeating England U-18 10-7 to reach the final of the competition for the first time.
Ireland opened the scoring with a long range penalty from wide on the right touch line through out-half Niall Earls to go 3-0 up. Heavy pressure by the England pack on the Irish line soon followed, but great spoiling work by scrum half Charlie Mulchrone, who had a storming game, saw Ireland win a penalty to clear the danger.
Ireland then threatened the English line with several rolling mauls from lineouts and after 28 minutes, Mulchrone broke to feed loosehead prop Jason East to score the vital try. The score was also converted by Earls, but Ireland were dealt a blow when the out-half had to leave the field injured just before the break.
England came back strongly in the second half and scored a converted try five minutes into the half to make it 10-7. The rest of the game saw Ireland dominate proceedings and could have scored after two breaks by replacement out-half Rory Stynes and the sprightly Mulchrone.
The Ireland defence held firm to see out the rest of the game and give themselves a deserved victory over a very strong England team.
Ireland will now play France in the final on Saturday in Dax (kick-off 5pm local time).
The coaching staff were delighted with the result and head coach Greg Lynch said: “The boys really played some excellent rugby and got excatly what they deserved. England were a good side and but I think that we were unlucky not to extend our lead. Our defence had to be good, as did all facets of our game, but they stuck to their task and were superb. The next challenge for the team is to go one step further against France and to do that we will have to up our performance again”.
IRELAND UNDER-18 CLUB XV v England
15 – Eoghan Conran Naas
14 – John O’Brien Connemara
13- Danny Barnes Tralee
12 – Eamonn Sheridan Navan (Captain)
11 – Colm Brady Kilkenny
10 – Niall Earls Wicklow
9 – Charlie Mulchrone Wilmslow
1 – Jason East Sligo
2 – Joe MacManus London Irish
3 – Conor Higgins Ballinasloe
4 – Michael Lenihan Mallow
5 – Charlie Armstrong Penzance
6 – Sean Dougall Newcastle Falcons
7 – Liam Carpenter Westport
8 – Dermot Murphy Galwegians
16 – James Robinson Corinthians
17 – Gavin Duffy Sundays Well
18 – Paul Molloy Waterpark
19 – John Dever Tallaght
20 – Mark Flanagan Mullingar
21 – Seamus McKimm RGS High Wycombe
22 – David McIIwaine Larne
23 – Adam Kennedy Buccaneers
24 – Rory Stynes Carlow
25 – Aengus O’Connell Corinthians
26 – Charlie Ingall London Wasps