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Four-Try Display Sees Ireland U-19s Overhaul France

Four-Try Display Sees Ireland U-19s Overhaul France

The Ireland Under-19s put in a sensational performance to beat their French counterparts 32-21 at Dooradoyle this afternoon.

Kieran Campbell's youngsters scored four tries in what was a rip-roaring game from start to finish. St. Michael's College full-back Jack Kelly crossed for two tries in the first half, while Gavin Coombes (Bandon Grammar) and Dublin University's Colm Hogan both touched down in the second period.

It was a very satisfying win for an Ireland team that built on a good performance when the two sides met last Wednesday at the same Limerick venue. A game France won 18-9.

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The French outfit opened the scoring in today's rematch after they finally broke down a well-organised Irish defence that was led by Under-20-capped scrum half Niall Saunders. Alexandre Nicoue scored a try in the left corner that was converted by his back-three colleague, Guillaume Cazes.

Ireland struck back immediately when Lansdowne back rower Paul Boyle burst through the French defence. The ball was recycled quickly for Kelly to go in for the first of his two tries. Conor Fitzgerald added the extras to make it 7-all with 15 minutes on the clock.

After a period of kick tennis between the two sides, a strong break down the left wing by Gaby Ngandebe opened up the Irish defensive line. The ball was eventually worked out to French captain Baptiste Couilloud who finished off a great move. Cazes converted to give France the lead once more.

Ard Scoil Ris out-half Fitzgerald fired over a penalty before France struck again with another glorious try that saw seven different players handle the ball before Theo Dachary dived over the line. Cazes converted to give the visitors an 11-point lead.

With UCD's Jack Regan impressing up front, Ireland were in no mood to lie down, and after Fitzgerald spotted a gap in the French defence, Kelly went over for his second try of the day. Fitzgerald converted to leave the half-time score at 21-17 in France's favour.

Unlike the first half, Ireland had more territory and possession in the second half and after camping in the French 22 for nearly 20 minutes, replacement lock Coombes showed great power to shake off a couple of French defenders and score a terrific try that put Ireland ahead.

Skerries clubman Ciaran Frawley, who had come on for Fitzgerald, nailed a penalty goal with nine minutes left to play put Ireland 25-21 ahead of their opponents.

Campbell's charges were in complete control at this juncture and capped off a great victory when Hogan finished off a well-worked back-line move to score their fourth try. Frawley converted to stretch Ireland's winning margin to 11 points.

Referee: Gareth Newman (Wales)