Thursday 22 March 2018

Ireland U20s out-gunned by Wales in Six Nations opener

Ireland U20s 24-35 Wales U20s

Ireland's Shane Daly against Wales at Donnybrook. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Ireland's Shane Daly against Wales at Donnybrook. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

In what proved a compelling contest, the Ireland U20s came up short against a ruthless and decidedly wilier Welsh outfit at Donnybrook Stadium.

With a trip to France to come next week, Nigel Carolan’s outfit have given themselves a difficult task for the campaign to come and will rue mistakes made on Friday evening, notably in defence.

Wales outscored Ireland by four tires to three as Cillian Gallagher, Kelvin Brown and Shane Daly all went over for the hosts.

Ireland got off to an ideal start with a penalty from impressive out-half Johnny McPhillips and, thanks to an opportunistic try from flanker Gallagher, they were 8-0 up with just seven minutes on the clock.

However, Wales fired back with 10 unanswered points; Dan Jones sent over a penalty before converting hooker Dafydd Hughes’ try.

McPhillips was on target again after Ireland won a penalty on the back of some scintillating build up play. Jones responded with a three pointer of his own, though McPhillips did likewise from the tee to give Ireland a one point lead.

Wales, though, hit Ireland on a counter that saw lock Adam Beard power over. After Jones converted Wales went into the break with a 20-14 lead.

Ireland needed to come out fighting but, after needlessly attempting to run from deep, Jones intercepted a lax pass to saunter in, though he missed his conversion.

Off the back of a line out maul substitute Brown went over and it looked as though Ireland were in the ascendancy but lock Peter Claffey was sent to the bin. Jones added the subsequent penalty and Wales were now 28-19 up.

Jones then converted Harri Millard’s try to seal the win, making Daly’s late try a non-event.

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