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Third Place Finish For Ireland Schools

Third Place Finish For Ireland Schools

The Ireland Under-18 Schools team completed their FIRA/AER U-18 European Championship run with a six-try 40-0 victory over Scotland to secure a third place finish in Grenoble.

The Ireland management made four changes to the team that lost to France in the midweek semi-final, with winger Cormac Brennan, front row duo Jeremy Loughman and Andrew Roche and lock Alexander Thompson all earning call-ups.

The 3rd-4th place play-off was played at Grenoble's Stade des Alpes and Noel McNamara's side delighted the large crowd with some fast-paced attacking rugby and high quality tries.

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Scrum half and captain Nick McCarthy set the ball rolling with a seventh minute try converted by his St. Michael's College colleague Ross Byrne.

Both place-kickers missed penalty before Ireland struck for their second try 26 minutes in, this time number 8 Nick Timoney made his way over in the corner to make it 12-0.

Busy prop Loughman added a third try before the break, which Byrne converted, and tighthead Oisin Heffernan joined him on the scoresheet five minutes into the second half.

Ireland were well on the way to their second win of the tournament with their ability to turn spells of pressure into points helping them build a healthy cushion.

A series of Scottish errors were also ruthlessly punished, and keeping the Scots scoreless was a real positive for the coaching staff given the hard work put in at training.

Territorially the Irish were dominant and they added two more tries by the hour mark, Loughman completing his brace and a pushover effort resulting in flanker Josh Murphy dotting down.

Centre Fergal Cleary took over the kicking duties after Byrne was replaced and he landed both conversions to cap off an encouraging finish to the Easter campaign for the Schools squad.

Speaking afterwards, Ireland head coach Noel McNamara said: “I was delighted with that (performance), particularly with the defensive shutout. We worked hard during the week on that.

“We knew the Scots were a physical side so we worked hard on our body height at the breakdown, our body height at our ruck defence. We're very happy that the boys pulled through today.

“It's been a fantastic tournament, it's been a fantastic learning opportunity for the boys. i think they've really developed.

“Obviously we were disappointed with the France result, but the boys will learn and I've no doubt they will come back stronger and challenge for future honours at Under-19 and Under-20 level.”

Try-scoring skipper Nick McCarthy added: “I'm really proud of the lads. We were hoping to get a good win because we were disappointed after the French game.

“We stood up to Scotland at the start, got points on the board early on and they just found it hard to get back into the game.”

Referee: Inigo Atorrasagasti (Spain)