Ryan: we didn't come here to be second but there's great memories
Published 27/06/2016 | 02:30
Ireland captain James Ryan said that when the disappointment of losing Saturday's final lifts, he knows they will have taken memories from a great tournament which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Ryan has been a superb skipper of this team and looks set, along with several others such as Andrew Porter, Max Deegan and Jacob Stockdale, to go all the way.
"We'll take a lot of positives. We'll take some lifelong memories from this tournament," said the second-row. "We had a terrific start, beating the grand slam champions and being the first men's team to beat a New Zealand side - that's a legacy in itself.
"But we didn't come up here to be second and there is a lot of great memories, but today is disappointing," said Ryan.
The skipper knew Ireland needed to get an early upper hand but it just was not possible against an English side who got an edge and built upon it.
"They just came out of the blocks quickly. They steamrolled us. They were really outstanding," he conceded.
"But I think we let them be a bit too. We rallied in the second half and it wasn't enough."
This was Ryan's first U-20 World Cup - he was doing his Leaving Cert a year ago - and he enjoyed the demands of the competition, even with five games crammed into 19 days.
"It's a tough tournament, just the turnaround between games, you need big squads, you need talented squads because you are going to need to use them all. Maybe England had a bit more in the engine today; they were deserving winners," he said.
Ryan said he was immensely proud of the performances but bitterly disappointed to come up short in the final. He will look back on this tournament with a lot of satisfaction after securing Ireland's highest finish in the nine years of the competition.
And he expects a lot of these players to go on and be capped at senior level for Ireland.
"I think we'll sit down in the future and look back on a pretty successful tournament," he said.
"We did come near to winning it though and to come out second best today is disappointing. But there has definitely been some huge wins."