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Melia Pleased By Irish Under-18s’ ‘Spirited Effort’

Melia Pleased By Irish Under-18s’ ‘Spirited Effort’

Ireland Under-18 Schools coach Peter Melia was encouraged by ‘another spirited effort’ by his players in their second game of the 2008 U-18 Six Nations Festival in Cork, but a well-drilled Scotland outfit proved too strong.

The Scots claimed their second victory of the Festival – winning 25-6 at Musgrave Park – and it was a deserved one with their defensive platform and solid performances from the likes of Alex Blair, who scored 20 points, and captain Stuart McInally helping them home.

This was an improved showing from the hosts but their lack of preparation time and inexperience counted against them. Still, Irish coach Peter Melia is confident his charges can finish out the Festival with a win over Italy on Tuesday.

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Speaking afterwards, he said: “Once again the players put in a spirited effort but I think our lack of experience and lack of preparation affected us. At half-time even when we were a long way behind on the scoreboard (at 20-3), we felt we were still in with a shout.

“We had a lot of territory but we didn’t have the composure we needed. As a squad I think we have a very talented back-line with some fine individuals but we didn’t click today. We have another game next week and for the lads involved I hope they get the experience of winning in a green jersey.”

The Irish players were dejected after the final whistle but, amongst others, the likes of Diarmaid McCarthy, Michael Allen and Dominic Ryan can hold their heads high after their impressive individual performances.

Scotland U-18 coach Grant McKelvey was a happy man as he fielded questions from the media afterwards. He said: “We had a new team out there together and we came to one of the homes of Munster rugby and performed, so I am really pleased with the lads, especially their defensive effort.

‘Our control in defence was excellent and we’ve done a lot of work in the past couple of days with (senior Scotland defence coach) Alan Tait and that came into fruition on the pitch against Ireland.

“I was delighted after half-time when we managed to prevent Ireland from scoring, when they were pressing for ten or fifteen minutes. We took confidence from that and even when we went down to 13 men we were pretty much in control,” McKelvey added.

For more information, results and news from the 2008 Under-18 Six Nations Festival, please click here.