Monday 19 February 2018

Ireland youngsters scent glory

Captain Marion Doolan lifted the plate on behalf of her side
Captain Marion Doolan lifted the plate on behalf of her side

Ireland are targeting a second FIRA-AER European U-18 Championships title when they take on holders England in the final in Poland today.

Coach Noel McNamara has reshuffled his backline with Jack Power moving to outside-centre where his pace and creativity can be devastating and Jacob Stockdale playing at full-back, his third position in three matches.

The big, powerful Ulster strike runner has bagged three tries in two games as Ireland have shown definite improvement from Georgia (20-10) to France (24-11).

The same again will be needed to derail the English.

Matthew Gilsenan returns to fly-half to partner Rowan Osborne behind an athletic and mobile pack led by captain James Ryan.

The defending champions have blown Portugal away (62-5) and enjoyed the balance of luck to squeeze out Wales (11-9) in a weather-affected semi-final.

This one could go either way.

Ireland –J Stockdale (Wallace High); J Larmour (St Andrew's), J Power (Blackrock), C Mulcahy (Clongowes Wood), C Nash (Crescent); M Gilsenan (St Michael's), R Osborne (Clongowes Wood); A Porter (St Andrew's), J Molony (Clongowes Wood), C O'Donnell (Summerhill, Sligo), J Ryan (St Michael's, capt), S O'Connor (Rockwell), W Connors (Clongowes Wood), J Guy (St Andrew's), M Deegan (St Michael's).

IRELAND V ENGLAND, LIVE, 3E, 3.30pm

Irish Independent

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