Saturday 22 July 2017

Supersized English prove too much for valiant Irish

IRELAND 17
ENGLAND 41
U-18 FIVE NATIONS FESTIVAL

There's times when a consolation try is so much more than merely five points. That was the case here. Ireland captain Niall Scannell twisted for the line in the last act of Ireland's defeat to England on a remarkably sound surface in Llandovery, Wales, yesterday.

For the best part of an hour, Ireland had harried and hassled England into a litany of errors.

They started brightly. Centre Paddy Jackson shot three out of four first-half penalty opportunities -- and out-half Cathal Marsh a drop goal -- as the forwards tore into the English.

However, the sheer size of the English made any set-piece ball in the danger zone a likely try-scoring chance. Two of their three five-pointers were down to basic power; the first off a scrum, the third from a line-out, as hooker Koree Britton and openside Chris Walker breached the Irish defence.

In between, they did cut the greens wide open with a swift backline assault, left wing Charlie Walker stealing over on the left in setting up a 20-12 lead at the break.

On resumption, Ireland wing Sam Coghlan-Murray almost struck back for a try, running out of room with five metres to go.

England out-half George Ford adapted to the conditions, using his skills in the wind to keep Ireland pinned close to their line. Centre Elliot Daly, Ford and full-back Ben Ransom reflected the domination by coursing through for tries.

Coghlan-Murray and Ross Jones combined for the sort of front-foot football that enabled replacement JJ Hanrahan to kick crossfield for Scannell to ground the ball.

Ireland -- R Jones (Castleknock); M Corballis (St Michael's) (S MacAuley, Clongowes, 55), P Nelson (Royal, Dungannon) (JJ Hanrahan, Rockewell, 60), P Jackson (Methodist), S Coghlan-Murray (Newbridge); C Marsh (St Michael's) (R McMaster, Coleraine Al, 67), L McGrath (St Michael's) (H Doyle, Royal Armagh, 67); R Harrison (Methodist) (D Merry, Kings Hospital, ht (Harrison, 55)), N Scannell (PBC Cork, capt), K McCall (Wallace High) (P Reilly, Castleknock, 22 & 50), J Conan (St Gerard's), S Buckley (Rockwell), A Conneely (Colaiste Iognaid) (E Cross, Crescent, 66), C Gilsenan (Clongowes), D Qualter (Sligo Grammar).

England -- B Ransom; M Yarde (M Jennings, 55), E Daly (J Elliot, 59), R Mills, Charlie Walker; G Ford (capt), J Hodgson (D Robson, 40); N Auterac, K Britton (N Morris, 61), A Brennan (K Sinckler, 43), D Barrow, S Twomey (G Merrick, 61), B Vunipola, Chris Walker (W Skuse, 43), M Kvesic.

Ref -- C Williams (Wales)

Irish Independent

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