Farrell Brace Fires Ireland U-18 Clubs Team To Victory In Rome
Two classy finishes from Paidi Farrell bookended a slick six-try showing from the Ireland Under-18 Clubs team, as they posted a 43-10 win over Italy in sunny Rome.
UNDER-18 INTERNATIONAL MATCH: Saturday, November 5
ITALY UNDER-18s 10 IRELAND UNDER-18 CLUBS 43, Centro di Preparazione Olimpica Giulio Onesti, Rome
Scorers: Italy U-18s: Try: Federico Zanadrea; Con: Riccardo Favaretto; Pen: Francesco Borelli
Ireland U-18 Clubs: Tries: Paidi Farrell 2, Patrick Egan, Ambrose Bamber, Connor Fahy, Arann Platt; Cons: Dylan Hicks 5; Pen: Dylan Hicks
HT: Italy U-18s 3 Ireland U-18 Clubs 29
Reversing the result from last year, the Ireland U-18 Clubs side (sponsored by PwC) clinically put away their scoring chances whether out wide or through the diligent work of their pack, which was led by tireless captain Jack Boyan from Mullingar.
Damien McCabe’s well-drilled youngsters scored an array of tries – three in a five-minute spell towards the end of the first half – to build a comprehensive 29-3 half-time lead.
The excellent Farrell punished Italy’s first yellow card with an opportunist try, then the late flurry saw Patrick Egan get over from a lineout maul, Ambrose Bamber had an intercept effort, and Connor Fahy finished off a three-man break.
Italian centre Federico Zanadrea crossed for their only try during Cian Brady’s sin bin period, but Ireland strung together two late tries from replacement Arann Platt and the jet-heeled Farrell, with his second, to finish strongly.
Bantry Bay out-half Dylan Hicks kicked 13 points from the tee, while it was encouraging to see the combinations work well together and the overall cohesiveness of the Irish play despite their short preparation time.
The start of the match was evenly contested, Italy putting pressure on at lineout time but Ireland forced an early scrum penalty and carried well through the likes of Mahon Ronan and front rowers Henry Walker and Finian Murray.
A nice switch move off a lineout saw Tullamore flyer Farrell break into the Italian 22, and although the hosts held firm despite being turned over at a scrum, Matteo Gaetano’s sin-binning for a deliberate knock-on proved costly.
Hicks landed his only penalty goal on the quarter hour mark, and Farrell scorched over just after the restart. A Hicks cross-field kick sat up invitingly for the winger to evade an initial tackle and he fended off the covering Francesco Borelli to score from halfway.
Hicks missed the difficult conversion from out wide and Italy hit back in the 22nd minute, Borelli rewarding Giacomo Milano’s breakdown work to close the gap to 8-3.
However, they were rocked by a second sin-binning soon after as centre Riccardo Ioannucci paid the price for another deliberate knock-on.
A well-executed lineout maul saw Buccaneers number 8 Egan crash over, with Hicks converting crisply from out wide. Italy were stung further when the inrushing Bamber brilliantly intercepted a Gianmarco Pietramala pass for a 40-metre run-in.
With Hicks adding the extras from straight in front, Ireland were suddenly 22-3 to the good. It got even better barely two minutes later when the visitors turned an overthrown Italian lineout into their fourth try.
IQ Rugby hooker Walker took the ball up, then it was spun wide through the backs and an overlap was developed. Full-back Brady combined with Farrell who passed back inside for Wexford Wanderers centre Fahy to add seven more points to the tally.
Prop Darragh Brennan’s well-won turnover penalty prevented Italy from responding before the break. When the second half got underway, Ireland quickly established a stranglehold of territory.
Brady collected a Hicks cross-field kick and almost put Charlie Griffin away, the big IQ Rugby winger instead being brought down by a solid tackle from the chasing Giacomo Ndoumbe Lobe.
Locks Piero Gritti and Bryan Walsh traded turnovers, but Brady saw yellow for a deliberate knock-on and Italy were quick to capitalise. A good attacking spell finished with centre Zanadrea cutting in for a converted try beside the posts.
Coaches McCabe, Tom McKeown and Kevin Maggs began to unload the Irish bench heading into the final 20 minutes, the visitors’ defence being tested but they were well organised to keep Italy to just one try.
Buccaneers’ Niall Tallon clamped down on the ball at the breakdown, earning a penalty to move Ireland forward again. Italy continued to threaten on the break, with Farrell having to deal with a kick through from Zanadrea.
A promising Italian maul was foiled by tigerish defence from Boyne lock Ronan, and when Ireland regained decent field position, centres Eoghan Smyth and Fahy spearheaded a break down the left that ended with Italy’s Giacomo Dell’Oglio being binned.
Replacement Tallon tapped the penalty and drove up close before Sligo prop Platt powered over the whitewash with support from club-mate Bamber. Hicks continued his fine day with the boot, converting from a tough angle on the left.
Ireland made sure to the finish the game on a high, Matthew Wright gobbling up a dropped Italian pass on halfway and crisp passing from Dylan Kelly, Sam Mills and Fahy delivered possession out to Farrell.
The midlands youngster took off like a bullet, breaking down the left touchline and getting outside Raffaele Attilio Desiderio’s attempted tackle to round in and score near the posts. The kick from Hicks made it 33-point winning margin.
TIME LINE: 11 mins – Italy yellow card: Matteo Gaetano; 15 mins – Ireland penalty: Dylan Hicks – 0-3; 16 mins – Ireland try: Paidi Farrell – 0-8; conversion: missed by Dylan Hicks – 0-8; 22 mins – Italy penalty: Francesco Borelli – 3-8; 26 mins – Italy yellow card: Riccardo Ioannucci; 27 mins – Ireland try: Patrick Egan – 3-13; conversion: Dylan Hicks – 3-15; 29 mins – Ireland try: Ambrose Bamber – 3-20; conversion: Dylan Hicks – 3-22; 31 mins – Ireland try: Connor Fahy – 3-27; conversion: Dylan Hicks – 3-29; Half-time – Italy 3 Ireland 29; 43 mins – Ireland yellow card: Cian Brady; 46 mins – Italy try: Federico Zanadrea – 8-29; conversion: Riccardo Favaretto – 10-29; 63 mins – Italy yellow card: Giacomo Dell’Oglio; 64 mins – Ireland try: Arann Platt – 10-34; conversion: Dylan Hicks – 10-36; 67 mins – Ireland try: Paidi Farrell – 10-41; conversion: Dylan Hicks – 10-43; Full-time – Italy 10 Ireland 43
ITALY U-18: Gianmarco Pietramala (Florentia Rugby Asd); Giacomo Ndoumbe Lobe (Rugby Piaeve Asd), Federico Zanadrea (Benetton Rugby Treviso Srl Ssd), Riccardo Ioannucci (Rugby Experience L’aquila Asd), Matteo Gaetano (Asd Unione Monferrato Rugby); Francesco Borelli (Valpolicella Rugby 1974 Asd), Giulio Sari (Benetton Rugby Treviso Srl Ssd) (capt); Sergio Pellicioli (Junior Rugby Brescia Asd), Ivan Bovo (Rugby Petrarca Srl S.D.), Nicola Bolognini (Asd Monti Rugby Rovigo Junior), Piero Gritti (Benetton Rugby Treviso Srl Ssd), Mattia Midena (Asd Rugby Paese), Nelson Casartelli (Verona Rugby Srl Ssd), Tommaso Redondi (Verona Rugby Srl Ssd), Giacomo Milano (Unione Rugby Capitolina Asd).
Replacements used: Riccardo Favaretto (Mogliano Veneto Rugby S.S.D. A R.L.) for Borelli (half-time), Giacomo Dell’Oglio (Benetton Rugby Treviso Srl Ssd) for Pietramala (45 mins), Alessio Pensieri (G.S. Fiamme Oro Rugby Roma) for Gaetano (47), Christian d’Appolonia (Benetton Rugby Treviso Srl Ssd) for Bovo, Marco Checchini (Valsugana Rugby Padova Asd) for Pellicioli (both 50), Darren Low (Kirkham Grammar School) for Sari (56), Bruno Vallesi (Rugby Viadana 1970 Ssd Arl) for Bolognini (60), Pietro Melegari (Rugby Parma F.C.1931 Soc.Coop.S.D.) for Casartelli (63), Gianluca Mugnaini (Pro Recco Rugby Ssd Arl) for Midena (65). Not used: Alessandro Scappato (Rugby Petrarca Srl S.D.), Raffaele Attilio Desiderio (Unione Rugby Capitolina Asd).
IRELAND U-18 CLUBS: Cian Brady (Monivea RFC/Connacht); Charlie Griffin (Harrow School/IQ Rugby), Connor Fahy (Wexford Wanderers RFC/Leinster), Eoghan Smyth (Midleton RFC/Munster) (vice-capt), Paidi Farrell (Tullamore RFC/Leinster); Dylan Hicks (Bantry Bay RFC/Munster), Andrew Doyle (Athy RFC/Leinster); Darragh Brennan (Tullamore RFC/Leinster), Henry Walker (Hartpury College/IQ Rugby), Finian Murray (Monivea RFC/Connacht), Bryan Walsh (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht), Mahon Ronan (Boyne RFC/Leinster), Ambrose Bamber (Sligo RFC/Connacht), Jack Boyan (Mullingar RFC/Leinster) (capt), Patrick Egan (Buccaneers RFC/Connacht).
Replacements used: Sean Rohan (Buccaneers RFC/Connacht) for Walker, Matthew Wright (Kirkham Grammar School/IQ Rugby) for Murray, Niall Tallon (Buccaneers RFC/Connacht) for Walsh (all 47 mins), James Harris (Athy RFC/Leinster) for Brady, Michael O’Donovan (Bantry Bay RFC/Munster) for Smyth (both 53), Sam Mills (Longford RFC/Leinster) for Egan (both 56), Dylan Kelly (Portlaoise RFC/Leinster) for Doyle, Arann Platt (Sligo RFC/Connacht) for Brennan (both 58), Brady for Farrell (72).