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Ireland to give England history lesson

THE Ireland U18 Schools side will bid to do what they did last year and defy all the rules of physics and biology to outmanoeuvre a monstrous enemy with all the advantages of size, muscle, preparation and organisation.

In hindsight, Ireland had to survive similar disadvantages against a French pack which dismantled the Irish scrum and drained all reserves of energy, if not bravery, in the 22-20 semi-final win on Tuesday.

It is the four-day recovery period that will test the mental and physical capacity of the Irish to come with enough force to match the battering ram that is always England.

Coach Terry McMaster had to deal with nothing more than bumps and bruises, but there must be a temptation to rotate his side slightly.

Despite this, there are those indispensible players that have already made a mark in the tournament.

Half-backs Bobby Holland, from St Michael's, and Gonzaga's Conor McKeon have given direction to Ireland's game plan.

St Michael's flanker Dan Leavy, the captain, Clongowes Wood number eight Peader Timmins, CBC Cork prop Charlie Slowey, Roscrea lock Sean O'Brien, Terenure centre Harrison Brewer and Crescent wing Greg O'Shea have had their moments too.

Before the start of the competition, this had the look of a side comparable to that of last year.

The difference this time is that England have been forewarned.

EUROPEAN U18 CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL

Ireland v England, Ciuded Universitaria, Madrid, Saturday 3.45

Verdict: Ireland

ULSTER BANK ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE

DIVISION 2B (Tomorrow 2.30)

Sunday's Well v Suttonians, Musgrave Park

Centre Alan Dodd and lock Stephen Merrigan come in for Suttonians. The Well are in danger of droping out of the league.

SUTTONIANS (v Sunday's Well): D Farrell; D O'Neill, A Dodd, P Zarifi, D Higgins; A Griggs, D Traynor; G Connolly, A Hoary, M Amerlynck, S Merrigan, A Kearney, R Delaney, P Dwane, S Cantillon.


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