Thursday 14 December 2017

Rugby: Ireland struggle to fire against Wales in Euros

Belvedere College's Tom De Jongh who played for Ireland Schools U18s
Belvedere College's Tom De Jongh who played for Ireland Schools U18s

THE Ireland Schools came into the FIRA-AER European U18 Championships ranked number two behind England.

They promptly went out to Georgia in the quarter-final on a penalty shoot out (3-1) at the back of an 8-8 draw.

This was further undermined by a narrow 14-9 defeat to Wales at Balma Racing Club on Tuesday.

The best they could offer were three penalties from captain Bill Johnston, two of them in the 13th and 20th minutes of the first-half to lead 6-0 at the interval.

In truth, they could have few complaints as the Welsh stitched together two tries by flanker Aled Ward and centre Kieran Williams by the 55th minute to make Johnston's third penalty incidental.

This outcome consigned Ireland to a 7th/8th place play-off against Scotland on Saturday.

"Scotland affords us another chance to play one of the four nations and they will put their all into the jersey," reacted IRFU Performance Director Colin McEntee.

IRELAND: T Foley (Roscrea); C Nash (Crescent), J Kelly (St Michael's), B Johnston (Rockwell, capt), R Lyttle (Methodist); C Dean (Blackrock), J Stewart (Wallace High); D Kealey (Campbell), C McEvoy, P Cooper (both Sullivan Upper), J Guy (St Andrew's), O Dowling (St Michael's), C Doris (Blackrock), T de Jongh (Belvedere), J Foley (St Munchin's). Replacements: A Clarke (Ballymena) for McEvoy, P Kelleher (CBC, Cork) for Cooper both 54 mins; T Carroll (Roscrea) for T Foley, J McKeown (Ballymena) for de Jongh both 64 mins; J Lyons (Crescent) for Nash 68 mins.


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