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Alex (14) had to 'lie down on floor' after he won mascot competition

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Peter Lynch and his son Alex

Peter Lynch and his son Alex

Damien Eagers / INM

Peter Lynch and his son Alex

Schoolboy Alex Lynch is en route to Japan to lead out the Irish rugby team for their first match of the World Cup.

The 14-year-old, from Terenure, Dublin, won the Rugby World Cup 2019 Emirates Flag Bearer competition in conjunction with the Irish Independent.

It means that when the green machine rolls onto the pitch at Yokohama tomorrow morning, ready to face Scotland, Alex will be at the vanguard.

He was persuaded to enter the competition by his father Peter (pictured above with Alex), who is also making the trip to Japan, and the teenager admits he "had to lie down on the floor" when he heard he had won.

Friends at the High School, Rathgar, Dublin, and Three Rock Rovers where Alex plays hockey will all be cheering him on. His two older brothers will also be watching enviously from Dublin.

"I've been to the Aviva a few times but this is my first away game," he said.

As for Irish chances, Alex is optimistic: "If we can beat New Zealand or South Africa in the quarter-finals, we can go all the way." Ireland will be hoping to get off to a flying start against Scotland after group rivals Japan opened their campaign with a victory against Russia.

Irish Independent