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Ireland U-18 Schools Side Pipped By Scotland In Ten-Try Thriller
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Ireland U-18 Schools Side Pipped By Scotland In Ten-Try Thriller

Ireland U-18 Schools Side Pipped By Scotland In Ten-Try Thriller

The Ireland Under-18 Schools team and their Scottish counterparts delighted the watching crowd with ten tries and 82 points in a hugely exciting encounter ©www.capturetheevent.com

The Ireland Under-18 Schools team suffered last-minute heartache as Scotland came from behind to snatch a 42-40 victory in the final play of an enthralling U-18 Six Nations Festival match at Kingsholm.

Smyth: It’s All About Pushing Them Through To The Next Level

Four tries looked enough to guide Peter Smyth’s talented young side to victory in the final round of the Easter tournament, but they were thwarted by the resolute Scotland U-18s who levelled the scores with their sixth try of the match before winger Harry Paterson’s crucial conversion sealed the win.

Showing ten personnel changes from their narrow midweek loss to England, Alex Kendellen and his team-mates produced an excellent first half display at the home of Gloucester Rugby and their 20-14 interval lead failed to do them justice. Classy CBC Cork centre Harry O’Riordan started and finished a free-flowing opening try.

St. Michael’s starlet Chris Cosgrave broke from halfway courtesy of O’Riordan’s well-timed pass on 11 minutes, linking with supporting scrum half Ben Murphy who brilliantly spun out of a tackle from his opposite number Cameron Scott and fed the onrushing O’Riordan who crashed over near the posts. Cosgrave tapped over the simple conversion.

Ireland’s pacy full-back was to be one of the game’s star turns and he duly slotted over a brace of penalties to keep Ireland ahead, while their opponents hit back with a converted catch-and-drive effort from skipper Scott Clelland.

Just after the half hour mark, Smyth’s youngsters bagged their second try to go 20-7 in front. Good work by the backs out wide – O’Riordan made the initial break and Diarmuid Kilcommins and Karl Martin kept the move going – was finished off by the pack down the middle with Belvedere College’s Alex Soroka, an impressive performer an ever-present second row, muscling over the line following Tom Stewart’s strong clear-out.

However, there was to be a twist just before half-time when Matt Currie’s great line opened up the defence and he fed his centre partner Scott King to score beneath the posts, Paterson’s straightforward conversion reducing the arrears to 20-14. That try seemed to lift the Scottish going into the second period which proved a far more even contest with the lead regularly changing hands.

Leicester Tigers back rower Ben Muncaster scored a converted effort for them nine minutes after the break only for O’Riordan to claim his second try of the game five minutes later, expertly handing off two defenders to score on the right after a clearance kick had been charged down. Sharpshooter Cosgrave was again successful with the extras for a 27-21 advantage.

The powerful Muncaster then joined O’Riordan on two tries, which was again converted by the unerring Paterson. Back came Ireland in the hot midday conditions, Ulster U-19 out-half Nathan Doak kicking a drop goal to reclaimed the lead and Cosgrave following up with a magnificant penalty from inside his own half.

The drama continued when winger Cameron Furley ran in from halfway after intercepting a Doak pass out wide, Paterson’s conversion edging the Scots into a 35-33 lead. The back-and-forth action, which saw both sides going for it and backing their skills, made it arguably the best contest of the festival and a great advertisement for U-18 international rugby.

With five minutes remaining, Smyth’s charges looked to have secured the win when replacements Reuben Crothers, Oisin McCormack and Conor McKee combined to slice through with the latter dotting down via McCormack’s drawing of the full-back and a nice final pass. Cosgrave converted to take his handsome festival haul to 33 points.

That should have been it but late Scotland pressure prompted a yellow card for Wallace High School’s Crothers. From another catch-and-drive move, the ball was worked to the wing for replacement Finlay Callaghan to dive in and Paterson to break Irish hearts with his decisive kick.

Click here to purchase match photos from the U-18 Six Nations Festival from Capture the Event.

Referee: Nick Wood (England)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Chris Cosgrave (St. Michael's College/Leinster); Diarmuid Kilcommins (Coláiste Bhaile Chláir/Corinthians RFC/Connacht), Harry O'Riordan (CBC Cork/Munster), Karl Martin (St. Mary's School Drogheda/Boyne RFC/Leinster), Aaron Leahy (CBC Cork/Munster); Nathan Doak (Wallace High School/Ulster), Ben Murphy (Presentation College Bray/Leinster); Jack Boyle (St. Michael's College/Leinster), Tom Stewart (Belfast Royal Academy/Ulster), Mark Donnelly (CBC Cork/Munster), Alex Soroka (Belvedere College/Leinster), Darragh Murray (Colaiste Chiaráin/Buccaneers RFC/Connacht), Will Hickey (St. Michael’s College/Leinster), Diarmuid McCormack (Clongowes Wood College/Connacht), Alex Kendellen (PBC Cork/Munster) (capt). Replacements used: Shane Jennings (Garbally College/Connacht) for Martin (49 mins), Conor McKee (Sullivan Upper School/Ulster) for Murphy (53), Oscar Egan (Coleraine Grammar School/Ulster) for Donnelly, Reuben Crothers (Wallace High School/Ulster) for Hickey (both 59), Oisin McCormack (Garbally College/Connacht) for Soroka, Jamie Osborne (Naas CBC/Naas RFC/Leinster) for Kilcommins (both 65), George Saunderson (Sullivan Upper School/Ulster) for Boyle, Cian Whooley (CBC Cork/Munster) for Doak (both 70), Lee Barron (St. Michael’s College/Leinster) for Stewart (72). Not used: Donnacha Byrne (Summerhill College/Sligo RFC/Connacht), Ben Carson (Wallace High School/Ulster).

Away Team

Nathan Sweeney (Loretto School); Harry Paterson (Fettes College), Matt Currie (Merchiston Castle School), Scott King (Heriot's), Cameron Furley (Saracens Academy/St. Alban's School); Alex Harley (George Watson's College), Cameron Scott (Preston Lodge); Cole Lamberton (The Royal High School), Scott Clelland (Ayr) (capt), Dan Gamble (Merchiston Castle School), Alex Samuel (Madras/St. Leonard's), Jamie Campbell (Kelvinside Academy), Gregor Brown (Robert Gordon's College), Harri Morris (George Watson's College), Ben Muncaster (Rugby School/Leicester Tigers). Replacements used: Finlay Callaghan (GHK) for Sweeney (16 mins), Jamie Drummond (Marr) for Lamberton (20), Jamie Dobie (Merchiston Castle School) for Scott (41), Josh King (Queen Victoria School/Stirling County) for Brown (51), Rory Jackson (Kelvinside Academy) for Campbell (53), Struan Whittaker (Edinburgh Accies) for Samuel (62), James Johnstone (Preston Lodge/Preston Lodge High School) for Clelland, Ben Mace (Stirling County) for Gamble (both 65), Tom Jones (Bristol Bears/SGS Filton) for Harley (77). Not used: Joseph Strain (Dumfries Saints), Jordan Craig (Hamilton Bulls).

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Harry O'Riordan 2, Alex Soroka, Conor McKee; Cons: Chris Cosgrave 4; Pens: Chris Cosgrave 3; Drop: Nathan Doak

Away Team

Tries: Scott Clelland, Scott King, Ben Muncaster 2, Cameron Furley, Finlay Callaghan; Cons: Harry Paterson 6