The Ireland Under-18 Schools team emerged as 15-5 victors over the Ireland Under-18 Clubs side at Merrion Road on Friday, aided by tries from centre Rory O’Loughlin and replacement winger David Busby.
UNDER-18 TRAINING MATCH: Friday, December 30
IRELAND UNDER-18 SCHOOLS XV 15 IRELAND UNDER-18 CLUBS XV 5, Merrion Road, Wanderers FC
Scorers: Ireland U-18 Schools: Tries: Rory O’Loughlin, David Busby; Con: Gearóid Lyons; Pen: Stephen O’Neill
Ireland U-18 Clubs: Try: Adrian Enright
Terry McMaster’s Schools side took the spoils after a well-contested encounter played in wet conditions at the home of Wanderers FC.
The winners were that bit sharper with ball in hand, the attacking highlight coming when Rory O’Loughlin finished off a terrific move in the left corner following some quick and accurate passing.
Before that O’Loughlin’s centre partner Stephen O’Neill had opened the scoring with a 10th minute penalty and while the forward exchanges were generally even, the Schools’ attack carried more thrust.
Out-half Bobby Holland was a key cog in a 52nd minute break which led to their second try. Crisp passing and a series of decoy runs created the space out wide on the right for replacement winger David Busby to dart through and touch down.
The conversion from the touchline was knocked over impressively by Gearóid Lyons, another of the Schools outfit’s replacements.
Credit to the Clubs players, they responded strongly in the closing stages of the game and following a good spell of pressure up front, they split the defence to send replacement winger Adrian Enright over for an unconverted try.
Both management teams will have garnered much from this festive runout for their young players, as well as the training camps where foundations have been laid for the upcoming international campaigns.
Next up for the Ireland Under-18 Clubs team is a clash with their Italian counterparts in Rovigo on Saturday, February 18, while the Schools players are gearing up for their spring defence of the FIRA-AER U-18 European title.
IRELAND U-18 SCHOOLS: Cormac O’Donnell (St. Munchin’s); Ian Fitzpatrick (King’s Hospital), Rory O’Loughlin (St.. Michael’s College), Stephen O’Neill (Terenure College), Greg O’Shea (Crescent College); Bobby Holland (St. Michael’s College), Ryan Foley (CBC Cork); Charlie Slowey (CBC Cork), Max Abbott (PBC Cork), Saba Meunargia (Marist College), Ross Molony (St. Michael’s College), Sean O’Brien (CC Roscrea), Dan Leavy (St. Michael’s College), Jack O’Neill (Castleknock College), Peadar Timmins (Clongowes Wood College).
Replacements used: David Busby (Portadown College) for O’Shea, Billy Dardis (Terenure College) for O’Donnell (both half-time), Eoghan McKeever (CBC Monkstown) for Meunargia (37), Shane Delahunt (Kilkenny College) for Slowey (39), Shane Boyle (Sligo GS) for O’Brien (45), Harrison Brewer (Terenure College) for J O’Neill (47), Gearóid Lyons (Crescent College) for S O’Neill (48), Dylan McGagh (Rockwell College) for Foley, Sonny Dwyer (Rockwell College) for Leavy, Ben Alexander (RBAI) for Timmins (all 57), Dylan Donnellan (Clongowes Wood College) for Abbott (59).
IRELAND U-18 CLUBS: Alex Webb (Exiles); James O’Sullivan (Whitgift), Adam Byrne (Naas), Seamus Keating (Dungarvan), Jim White (Enniscorthy); Fergal Cleary (Navan), Caolin Blade (Monivea); Peter Dooley (Birr), Paul O’Donnell (Galwegians), Jacob Walsh (Ballinasloe), John Madigan (Charleville), Russell Blair (Ballymoney), Frankie Taggart (Whitgift), Joe Bercis (Exiles), Jack O’Donohue (Waterpark).
Replacements used: Sean O’Hagan (Exiles) for Keating, Stephen Dalton (Exiles) for Walsh (both 29 mins), Adrian Enright (Abbeyfeale) for White, Scott Flannagan (Buccaneers) for O’Donnell, Reuben Pepperhobbs (Westport) for Webb (all half-time), Killian Sweeney (Malahide) for Bercis (46), Killian O’Keeffe (Crosshaven) for Blade (51), Brian Cunningham (Navan) for Dooley (61).
Referee: Dermot Blake (IRFU)