Friday 18 August 2017

Dean holds his nerve to help Ireland U-20s finish on a high

Ireland U-20 24 Georgia U-20 18

Gela Aparasidze of Georgia is congratulated by his team mates after scoring a brilliant solo try. Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Gela Aparasidze of Georgia is congratulated by his team mates after scoring a brilliant solo try. Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Ireland's U-20 World Cup campaign won't live long in the memory, but for several of the players the difficulties they had to cope with will hopefully be the making of them further down the line.

Back-to-back victories over Samoa and Georgia sealed a ninth-place finish that saw a raft of U-19 players gain invaluable experience.

Gela Aparasidze of Georgia breaks free to score a brilliant solo try. Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Gela Aparasidze of Georgia breaks free to score a brilliant solo try. Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

The character that Ireland showed to overturn a 10-7 half-time deficit against hosts Georgia, in front of a crowd of approximately 15,000, was impressive.

For out-half Conor Dean, who kicked four from four, there was a sense of relief from a hugely talented player who will be a key figure next year.

Delighted

"I'm delighted to come off with a 100pc record," Dean said. "I just stuck to what I normally do in training and hit the ball nicely.

"It was a great experience this year. It wasn't easy at times, but it will be great to bring that experience into next year and hopefully press forward."

Gela Aparasidze of Georgia is congratulated by his team mates. Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Gela Aparasidze of Georgia is congratulated by his team mates. Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Alan Tynan's converted try midway through the first half was cancelled out by Guram Gogichashvili's effort. Gela Aprasidze converted it after he had tacked on a penalty and Georgia led 10-7 at the break.

Ireland captain Paul Boyle put Caelan Doris over for a second-half try and got in on the action himself when he crashed over. Dean converted both.

Aprasidze's stunning solo try, as well as a second penalty, gave Georgia hope of claiming a famous win, but Dean's 73rd-minute penalty ensured that Ireland finished a testing campaign on a high.

New Zealand were crowned champions after demolishing England 64-17 in the decider. Asafo Aumua's hat-trick eased the Baby Blacks to a facile victory.

Lasha Jaiani of Georgia offloads the ball under pressure. Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Lasha Jaiani of Georgia offloads the ball under pressure. Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Ireland U-20 - A Tynan; M Silvester, G Mullin (C Frawley 56), D McCarthy, C Nash (M Keane 6); C Dean, J Stafford (J Stewart 44); J Duggan (J Conway 60), R Kelleher, C Connolly (G McGrath 60); F Wycherley (R Regan 60), O Dowling; J Foley (G Coombes 55), P Boyle, C Doris.

REF - P de Luca (Argentina)

Caeian Doris of Ireland offloads the ball to team mate Ronan Kelleher. Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Caeian Doris of Ireland offloads the ball to team mate Ronan Kelleher. Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

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