Jump to main content



Match Page - Scoreboard

Ireland U-18s Take Encouragement From Lively Tri Nations Opener
Report Stats

Ireland U-18s Take Encouragement From Lively Tri Nations Opener

Ireland U-18s Take Encouragement From Lively Tri Nations Opener

The Ireland Under-18s opened their Tri Nations Festival campaign with a 23-10 loss to France U-18s in Ashbourne today, but Mark Butler’s youngsters laid some solid foundations to take into next Saturday’s clash with England at the same venue.

Playing in extremely cold conditions, the Ireland Under-18s began the game on the front foot. Full-back Michael Silvester pounced on a loose ball just two minutes in, but the Clongowes Wood College ace could not quite grasp the ball before it found its way into touch on the left flank.

The French U-18 side, made up of regional Academy talents, moved the ball crisply during the early exchanges, but pressure from the Irish pack forced the visitors into the concession of a series of penalties. Indeed, from a lineout maul on six minutes, inside centre David McCarthy made a strong break into the French 22.

This moved ultimately led to a penalty for France, but with McCarthy and his midfield partner Corey Reid continuing to probe, they were keeping their opponents on their toes. However, although they were working off limited possession, it was the French who eventually broke the deadlock 11 minutes in.

Bayonne's Hugo Barada received the ball inside the Irish half, and after claiming his short offload, Martin Piot of Bordeaux powered through in under the posts. Scrum half Jules Gimbert converted for a 7-0 scoreline.

Moving past the first quarter mark, Ireland were still developing some promising attacking phases, while Navan lock JJ O'Dea was proving to be an excellent outlet in the lineout.

Peter Sylvester's 19th-minute drop goal attempt was caught in the stiff breeze, but after advantage was played, Skibbereen native McCarthy calmly converted a close range place-kick for 7-3.

This was just reward for Ireland's efforts up to this point, but France subsequently restored their seven-point cushion courtesy of a similar strike from the dependable Gimbert. They were hoping to maintain this position until the interval, but just beyond the half hour, Mark Butler's charges levelled matters in impressive fashion.

After another stellar lineout win by O'Dea, Ireland made a massive push towards the French line. Flanker Jack O'Sullivan from Pres Cork muscled his way over the whitewash under intense pressure from three French defenders, and the try was supplemented by McCarthy's conversion.

France did threaten to break through for a second time prior to the break, but superb work from the Irish defence ensured that the teams were tied (10-10) heading into the dressing rooms.

There were a number of encouraging signs for the Irish management team as they prepared the players for the second half, and with Alex Crocker – one of three Exiles in the Irish matchday squad – added to the back-line just five minutes after the restart, they were gradually introducing fresh legs to their side.

Indeed, tremendous defensive discipline denied Tolouse winger Maxime Marty in the 38th minute, but just seven minutes into the half, France put some daylight between the teams. In a similar vein to Ireland's earlier try, French blindside William van Bost finished off an expertly-worked maul on the right hand side.

Gimbert was off target from a tricky touchline conversion, however, and with Aaron Browne – fresh from his appearance in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup final with Cistercian College Roscrea – and Jonjo Fanning entering the fray, Ireland were aiming to work their way back into contention.

France gained a stranglehold on possession, though, and the excellent Gimbert stretched the visitors' lead to eight points with a 47th minute penalty from just outside Ireland's 22-metre line.

This put Ireland in a difficult position, but moving past the 50-minute mark, they were once more making inroads inside the French half. In spite of the intensity from the Irish attack, French largely held firm  and dynamic centre McCarthy was agonisingly wide with a penalty attempt on the hour.

Further replacements came on as Blackrock College's Stephen McLoughlin, Fergus O'Brien (Whitgift School) and Tullamore's Conor Dunne (on for the injured Reid) all made their way onto the pitch, and Ireland were still in the reckoning heading into the closing stages.

Sam Dardis and Bruce Houston also made appearances before the conclusion of the nip-and-tuck contest, but thanks to a late try by replacement Simon Soulier, it was France who emerged victorious with 13 points to spare.


Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Michael Silvester (Clongowes Wood College); Thomas O'Callaghan (CBC Monkstown), Corey Reid (Buccaneers RFC/Marist College Athlone), David McCarthy (Skibbereen RFC), Conor Phillips (Crescent Comprehensive College); Peter Sylvester (Presentation Brothers Cork), Rhys O'Donnell (RBAI); Cathal Duff (Clongowes Wood College), Diarmuid Barron (Rockwell College), Paul Mullan (Armagh RFC), Jack Dunne (St. Michael's College), JJ O'Dea (Navan RFC), Jack O'Sullivan (Presentation Brothers Cork), Jack Daly (Castleisland RFC), Andrew Murphy (Blackrock College) (capt).

Replacements used: Alex Crocker (Henley College/Exiles) for O'Donnell (40 mins), Aaron Browne (Cistercian College Roscrea) for Dunne, Jonjo Fanning (Bugbrooke RFC/Exiles) for Daly (both 45), Stephen McLoughlin (Blackrock College) for Barron, Fergus O'Brien (Whitgift School/Exiles) for Duff (both 60), Conor Dunne (Tullamore RFC) for Reid (61), Sam Dardis (Terenure College) for M Sylvester, Bruce Houston (Ballymena Academy) for P Sylvester (both 67). Not used: Evin Coyle (Gonzaga College).

Away Team

Leo Berden (Toulon); Maxime Marty (Toulouse), Hugo Barada (Bayonne), Martin Piot (Bordeaux), Zani Dembele (Forbach); Luigi Tarozzi (Agen), Jules Gimbert (Bordeaux); Alexandre Betti (Beziers), Lucas Peyreblanques (Bayonne), Demba Bamba (Brive), Alexandre Coing (Grenoble), Antoine Gaget (Bourgoin), William van Bost (Toulon), Dorian Clerc (Castres Olympique), Remi Lerdux (Yvetot).

Replacements: Theo Papalia (Toulon), Joffrey Pienkowski (Montpellier), Georgs Henri Collombe (Racing Paris), Angelo Caldarulo (Touraine), Simon Soulier (Clermont Auvergne), Xan Etcheverry (Biarritz), Loic Mioche (La Rochelle), Charly Bartoletti (Bourgoin), Lucas Dubois (Perpignan).

Match Scorers

Home Team

Try: Jack O'Sullivan; Con: David McCarthy; Pen: David McCarthy

Away Team

Tries: Martin Piot, William van Bost, Simon Soulier; Con: Jules Gimbert; Pens: Jules Gimbert 2