Quinn-McDonagh sparks spirited Irish comeback
IRELAND U-19 13
FRANCE U-19 12
A Jekyll and Hyde performance was concluded spectacularly in favour of Ireland by out-half Gareth Quinn-McDonagh's injury-time try and conversion in this Under-19 International at Donnybrook.
An Ireland win looked so unlikely for so long. The French played rugby in their own style, the backs and forwards blurring into one at times, their offloading a treat to witness against a disorganised Irish side, especially along an unfamiliar three-quarter line.
Blindside Baptiste Gabriel planted the first try in the seventh minute and centre Jean Pascal Barraque added another, with out-half Jean Marc Doussain converting, to give France a 12-0 advantage in the 26th minute. Ireland raised the tempo after the break to such a level that the far bigger Frenchmen didn't seem to have the aerobic fitness to go with their muscle.
Shannon out-half Quinn-McDonagh was the architect of an unlikely comeback. He chipped in with penalties in the 37th and 50th minutes as France felt it more beneficial to concede penalties than tries.
Then, he executed a wonderful show-and-go as the clock slipped into injury-time to take a diagonal route to the try line. He held his nerve to strike the conversion from the right.
Ireland U-19 -- L Marshall (M McAuley 63); C Gilroy, C Hircock, N McDonald (A Kelly h-t), A Boyle; G Quinn-McDonagh, P du Toit (M Dolan 53); J Tracy (L Padian 63), D Doyle (K O'Byrne 63), M Moore (P Mullen 63), S Hanbidge, D O'Mahony (C McDermott 63), S Leckey (D Gallagher 45), J Murphy (Capt), E McKeon.
France U-19 -- L Sirven; JM Buttin (S Barry 59), M O'Connor, J-P Barraque, P Berard (A Ortega 58); JM Doussain (Capt), I Lesgourges; M Boughanmi (C Slimani 31), R Colliat, W Desmaison, S Vahaamaina (W Demotte h-t), M Marie, B Gabriel, J Come, K Gimeno (G Galan 51).
Ref -- D Phillips (IRFU).