The Ireland Under-18 Clubs team matched their hosts’ try tally but ended up as 10-5 losers to the France Under-18 ‘B’ side in Massy on Saturday afternoon.
Sean Moran's 78th-minute try was part of a strong late rally from the Ireland Under-18 Clubs side who lost both of their starting props to injury in the opening 12 minutes.
France took advantage to race into an early 10-0 lead courtesy of a try from flanker Sekou Macalou and five points from the boot of out-half Hugo Rodor.
Props Brendan Quinlan and Conor Kyne, who played key roles in Ireland's victory over England last week, were struck down with injury even before a scrum was awarded as the visitors absorbed some early pressure.
Full-back Sean O'Hagan gathered a spilled ball and attempted to run from deep, but was tackled and duly penalised for holding on at the ruck.
French number 10 Rodor slotted over an easy three-pointer. The French held on to a high percentage of possession in the opening 25 minutes and the Irish defence was tested on many occasions.
French centre Lucas Beaudreuil did, however, breach the Irish defence as he gathered a ball inside his 22 and jinked downfield to offload to the supporting Macalou who sailed in under the posts to give France their opening try.
Ireland spent the remaining 20 minutes of the first half defending, with replacement props Niall Hannon and Harry Hester stopping the French attack in their tracks on numerous occasions.
Wayne Mitchell's youngsters did show some positive signs in attack with both centres James Nolan and Sam Arnold breaking the line. Captain Nolan missed a first half penalty from 35 metres and Ireland went in at the break trailing by ten points.
Coach Mitchell was more pleased with his side's second half performance despite the high penalty count against the visitors.
France were awarded two kickable penalties in the opening 15 minutes which Rodor missed and in the closing quarter hour Ireland started to trouble France with a more expansive game-plan.
Scrum half Jack Cullen moved his backs to the tramlines, and replacement Sean Moran got his opportunity to score in the right hand corner to close the gap to 10-5 with Nolan missing the conversion.
Ireland were unlucky not to cross the whitewash on two more occasions. They were camped on the French line when referee Christine Bigarran blew for full-time as they ended the campaign with a brave defeat.
Referee: Christine Bigarran (France)