The Ireland Under-18 Clubs side won their opening game of the FIRA-AER U-18 European Championship in Treviso on Sunday. In a tough encounter, they finally overcame Germany 20-11 and now progress to the semi-finals where they will face Georgia on Wednesday.
FIRA-AER UNDER-18 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP – GROUP A: Sunday, March 28
IRELAND U-18 CLUBS XV 20 GERMANY U-18 11, San Dona, Treviso
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Grant Connon, Ferdia Kenny; Cons: Thomas Daly 2; Pens: Thomas Daly 2
Germany: Try: Elmar Heimpel; Pens: Christopher Hilsenbeck 2
The Ireland Under-18 Clubs side struggled at times to subdue the lively Germany team. Both sides took time to find their feet in the tournament and the first half ended as it had started with no points on the board.
Michael Sherlock of Skerries came on after 28 minutes to replace the injured Chris Farrell, while up front Jake Considine was replaced by Tadhg Furlong in the 32nd minute.
Ireland had to further rejig their front row at the start of the second half with Kieran Ball coming in for Tom Margetson.
Ireland finally broke the deadlock, three minutes into the second half, when centre Thomas Daly landed a penalty.
Further changes saw Eoghan Masterson come on for Conor Ryan and Conor Clancy coming into the back row for Akhlaque Khan on 47 and 51 minutes respectively.
Germany then struck back with out-half Christopher Hilsenbeck kicking a penalty before Daly put Ireland back in front, three minutes later, with another well-struck penalty.
Hilsenbeck struck again soon after to make it all-square at 6-6.
The Exlies’ Grant Connon was introduced, 22 minutes into the second half, for team captain Jack Carty and made an immediate impact by scoring Ireland’s opening try, which Daly duly converted.
Not to be outdone, the Germans worked their way up-field and flanker Elmar Heimpel crashed over to pull them back into the game at 13-11.
The experience of the Irish side started to tell and their patience paid off when Ferdia Kenny ran in a second try on 70 minutes which Daly converted to leave them with the winning margin of 20-11.
Ireland now face into a semi-final clash against Georgia who ran out 25-7 winners over Romania in their opening game. The semi-final will take place in Casale Sul Sile on Wednesday.
France lived up to their top billing in Group A when they beat Italy 50-10. They will take on Belgium who beat Russia 27-14.
IRELAND UNDER-18 CLUBS XV: Shane Layden (Cistercian Coll. Roscrea – Connacht); Ferdia Kenny (Presentation Bray/Greystones – Leinster), Thomas Daly (Carlow – Leinster), Christopher Farrell (Clogher Valley – Ulster), Joe Keane (UL Bohemians – Connacht); Jack Carty (Buccaneers – Connacht), Jack Walsh (London Wasps – Exiles); Tom Margetson (Wellington College – Exiles), Christopher Tonge (Skerries – Leinster), Jake Considine (Young Munster – Munster), Conor Kindregan (Monivea – Connacht), Alan O’Connor (Skerries – Leinster) (capt), Daniel Mannion (Wicklow – Leinster), Akhlaque Khan (Navan – Leinster), Conor Ryan (Navan – Leinster)
Replacements used: Michael Sherlock (Skerries – Leinster) for Farrell (28 mins), Tadhg Furlong (New Ross – Leinster) for Considine (32), Kieran Ball (Wellington College/Saracens – Exiles) for Margetson (half-time), Eoghan Masterson (Portlaoise – Leinster) for Ryan (47), Conor Clancy (Stoneyhurst College/London Irish – Exiles) for Khan (51), Grant Connon (Newcastle Falcons – Exiles) for Carty (57), Kieran Marmion (Kirkham GS – Exiles) for Walsh (70+2). Not used: Jonathan Murphy (Banbridge – Ulster), Charles Gallagher (Banbridge – Ulster), Callum Boland (Buccaneers – Connacht), Cian McGovern (Crosshaven – Munster).
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