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Thomas Ahern rises to the occasion as Ireland U-20s clinch Triple Crown

England 21 Ireland 39

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Thomas Ahern of Ireland is tackled by George Barton, left, and Tom Roebuck during the Six Nations U20 Rugby Championship match at Franklins Gardens in Northampton, England. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Thomas Ahern of Ireland is tackled by George Barton, left, and Tom Roebuck during the Six Nations U20 Rugby Championship match at Franklins Gardens in Northampton, England. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Thomas Ahern of Ireland is tackled by George Barton, left, and Tom Roebuck during the Six Nations U20 Rugby Championship match at Franklins Gardens in Northampton, England. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Thomas Ahern led the way with a brace of tries as the Irish U-20 side secured the Triple Crown and remain on course to retain their Six Nations grand slam.

The 6’9’ lock scored in either half as Noel McNamara’s men blew England away at Franklin’s Garden as their hopes of a Triple Crown and grand slam were shattered by a superb Irish side.

Ireland dominated the opening half and deservedly led 29-7 at the break after some breath-taking rugby which had England on the back foot for most of the first-half at a venue where they had never lost an U-20 games.

A try from England lock George Hammond, after Jack Crowley had got Ireland off the mark with a penalty, was all the hosts had to show for the opening half as Ireland dominated

England hit back after the restart with lock Hugh Tizard getting them back in contention when he scored after 46 minutes but Ireland, with skipper David McCann leading the way, responded for replacement Max O’Reilly to score.

That made it 34-14 after 52 minutes before a try from hooker Theo Dan four minutes later gave England hope but Ireland wrapped up an impressive win when McNulty made the metres after a turnover and Ahern was on hand to score his second of the night.

England – F Steward; G Hamer-Webb, C Doherty (M Ojomoh 74), C Watson, T Roebuck; G Barton (W Haydon-Wood 74), S Maunder (B Boyland 74); S Crean (E Iyogun 40), T Dan (B Atkins 68), L Green (H Beaton 40); H Tizard (C Munga 53), G Hammond; R Capstick, J Gray (R Farrar 53), R Tuima.

Ireland – O McNulty; E McIlroy, D Kelly, H Hyde (M O’Reilly 49), A Smith; J Crowley (T Corkery 36-41, 78)), L Finlay (B Murphy 74); M Hanan (C Ward 56), J McKee (T Stewart 56), T Clarkson (H Noonan, 78); T Ahern (Munster) (J McCarthy 74), B Deeny; A Soroka (C Prendergast 62), S O’Brien, D McCann.

Ref – B Blain (Scotland).

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