St Michael's College's Leinster Schools Senior Cup hero Dan Leavy captained the Irish school side to a 22-20 victory over France in the FIRA-AER U18 European Championships semi-final at Ciudad Universitaria in Madrid, Spain, yesterday.
In a remarkable show of commitment and skill, Ireland used their intelligence, mobility and pace to unhinge the massive French, scoring three tries to France's two.
Ireland fly-half Conor McKeon slotted a penalty and a razor-sharp Greg O'Shea got over for McKeon to make it 10-6 for a temporary lead in the 26th minute.
Left wing O'Shea was at it again from a turnover in the 37th minute, converted by McKeon.
The game swung one way then the other, until prop Charlie Slowey's rumble slipped Ireland into a 22-20 lead, which they defended resolutely to the final whistle.
The Irish are now on course for a final against England -- who held off Wales 22-16 -- on Saturday in what is a repeat of last year's final, won for the first time by Ireland.