Jump to main content


Under-18 Clubs Team Through To European Final

Under-18 Clubs Team Through To European Final

The Ireland Under-18 Clubs team has qualified for the FIRA-AER Under-18 European championship final for the second year running, beating England 8-3 in a tight semi-final played at San Dona’ di Piave on Wednesday.


IRELAND U-18 CLUBS XV 8 ENGLAND U-18 3, San Dona’ di Piave, Venice

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Scorers: Ireland U-18: Try: Kieran Brookes; Pen: Niall Earls

England U-18: Pen: Joe Ford

Ireland also beat England 10-7 at the semi-final stage of last year’s competition and went on to lose a penalty shoot-out to hosts France in the final.

Ironically, France will provide the opposition for Greg Lynch’s 2008 crop in Saturday afternoon’s final, which will be played at Benetton Treviso’s home ground, Stadio Comunale di Monigo (kick-off 4pm local time). France beat this year’s hosts Italy 22-15 in their semi-final.

The Irish began the tournament with a bang on Sunday by overwhelming Russia 53-0.

In sunny conditions at San Dona’ di Piave, Ireland got off to a brilliant start against England as prop Kieran Brookes notched the game’s only try after only 53 seconds.

Niall Earls, making his first start of the tournament, kicked off and the Irish pack managed to gobble up possession before a quick series of phases ended with Brookes crashing over out wide.

Earls missed the conversion but the Wicklow clubman played well throughout with the pace of the Irish outside backs causing plenty of problems for the English.

Despite this only being their second game together, Ireland were very cohesive and frustrated their opponents at the breakdown as a series of penalties hampered England’s progress up the pitch.

They did open their scoring account, two minutes before half-time, when out-half Joe Ford, a son of former Ireland defence coach Mike Ford, booted a fine penalty from 40 metres out to make it 5-3.

During a nail-biting second half, a similar penalty from Earls in the 56th-minute proved to be the only other score as Ireland hung on to set up a re-match with France, much to the delight of their supporters in the 750-strong crowd.

Mention must go to the Irish back row of Dominic Gallagher, James Stephenson and Josh Bennett, who were arguably the best unit on show, while Luke O’Dea was again solid at full-back and Gavin Nyawata, Karl Egan and Dean Landy also impressed.

IRELAND U-18 CLUBS XV: Luke O’Dea (Shannon/Munster); Gavin Nyawata (Naas/Leinster), Andrew Boyle (St. Brigid’s/Leinster), David Lynch (Naas/Leinster), Robert Kennedy (Longford/Leinster); Niall Earls (Wicklow/Leinster), Adam Kennedy (Buccaneers/Connacht); James Robinson (Corinthians/Connacht) (capt), Karl Egan (Corinthians/Connacht), Kieran Brookes (Flyde/Exiles), Shane Casey (Castlebar/Connacht), Dean Landy (Carrick-on-Suir/Munster), Dominic Gallagher (Lisburn/Ulster), James Stephenson (London Irish/Exiles), Josh Bennett (Gloucester/Exiles).

Replacements used: Declan Farrell (Leeds Carnegie/Exiles) for Brookes (32 mins), Eoin Griffin (Corinthians/Connacht) for Boyle (half-time). Not used: Fergal Lynch (Virginia/Ulster), Paul Molloy (Waterpark/Munster), James Simpson (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Aidan Mulligan (Bective Rangers/Leinster), Aaron Spring (Sligo/Connacht), Mark Dolan (Buccaneers/Connacht), Callum McKie (Brentwood/Exiles), Tchad Collins Francois (Truro College/Exiles), Kailyn Domican (Naas/Leinster).