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Under-18s Finish Third In FIRA/AER Tournament

Under-18s Finish Third In FIRA/AER Tournament

The Ireland Under-18 Clubs squad set aside their disappointment at losing to England on Wednesday in the semi-finals of the FIRA/AER European Championships by defeating Romania 51-10 on Saturday afternoon to finish third overall in the tournament.

Head coach Greg Lynch watched his side dominate Romania from start to finish. They opened the scoring out wide on the right through outstanding number 8 Rory Cunningham, while playing into a strong breeze.

The conversion was missed by Grant Connan, who had an excellent game overall.

The wind made place-kicking particularly difficult but Ireland kept the pressure on and scored a further two tries in the 25th and 30th minutes through centre Nathaniel McDonald and second row Eoin McKeon.

Again both scores were wide on the right touchlines and Connan missed the two conversions to leave the half-time score at 15-0.

Ireland upped the pace even further after the break and Cunningham started the second half as he did the first by scoring a try in the second minute.

By this time replacement Robbie Holt, who had come on for full-back Callum Boland at the break, had taken over the kicking duties and slotted the conversion to make the score 22-0.

Romannia finally got on the scoresheet with a penalty to make it 22-3.

Ireland were really flowing at this stage and out-half Connan dotted down twice in the 6th and 16th minutes to leave his side totally in control at 32-3.

Centre and captain David Lynch was next to cross the whitewash following a searing individual break and his try under the posts made life easier for another replacement Jack Carty to slot the conversion.

Ireland were not finished yet and back rower Aaron Conneely, on for Callum Burke, scored near the posts with Carty knocking over the points to put Ireland up to 46 points.

Romania then succeeded in putting Ireland under pressure near their line and after several pick and drives they scored a converted try.

But Ireland had the final say in this entertaining game when another replacement, second row Michael Kearney, galloped in from 25 metres to make the final score 51-10.

It was a fitting end to the tournament for an Ireland side which has played some excellent rugby during the week and were desperately unlucky not to make it to the final for the third year in a row.

Greg Lynch was pleased overall and said: “The players have put in a super effort over the last number of weeks during the training camps and also in the tournament.

“We played some really positive rugby over the three games and while we were all disappointed with the result against England, the whole squad put that behind them and put in a quality performance against Romania.”

IRELAND UNDER-18 CLUBS TEAM & REPLACEMENTS (v Romania U-18, FIRA-AER European U-18 Championships, 3rd-4th Place Play-Off, Stade Mayol, Toulon, Saturday, April 11):

15 – Callum Boland (Buccaneers/Connacht)

14 – Luke O’Keefe (London Wasps/Exiles)

13 – Nathaniel McDonald (Worcester Warriors/Exiles)

12 – David Lynch (Naas /Leinster) Captain

11 – Paul Dean (Old Wesley/Leinster)

10 – Grant Connon (Austin Friars St. Monica’s/Exiles)

9 – Mark Dolan (Buccaneers/Connacht)

1 – Jake Considine (Young Munster/Munster)

2 – John Sutton (New Ross/Leinster)

3 – Luke Murphy-Wooldridge (St. Olaves School/Exiles)

4 – Eoin McKeon (Galwegians/Connacht

5 – Daniel Qualter (Buccaneers/Connacht)

6 – Dominic Gallagher (Lisburn/Ulster)

7 – Callum Burke (London Wasps/Hampton School/Exiles)

8 – Rory Cunningham (Galwegians/Connacht)

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Replacements used: Tadhg Furlong (New Ross/Leinster) for Considine, Eddie Downes (Wicklow/Leinster) for Murphy Wooldridge, Kieran Marmion (Kirkham GS/Exiles) for Dolan, Robbie Holt (Edenderry/Leinster) for Boland (all half-time), Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht) for O’Keefe (55 mins), Aaron Conneely (Corinthians/Connacht) for Burke, Michael Kearney (Clontarf/Leinster) for Qualter (both 60), Jonathan Murphy (Banbridge/Ulster) for Sutton (65), . Not used: Connor Smyth (Coleraine/Ulster), Andrew Boyle (Old Wesley/Leinster), Michael Sherlock (Skerries/Leinster).

Ireland Under-18 Clubs Management Team:

William Gribben – Team Manager

Greg Lynch – Head Coach

Dan Van Zyl – Assistant Coach