Irish Exiles U18  22  Connacht U18 17                                                   

The Connacht U18s completed their preparations for the upcoming Schools Inter provincial series with a fiercely competitive match away to the Exiles in sunny Stockport RFC last Sunday the 26th August. Connacht started well and were rewarded with a kickable penalty which was narrowly pushed wide. On ten minutes the Exiles countered from a loose kick to set up a penalty chance of their own, which was neatly converted by out-half Harry O’Rielly to give the Exiles an early 3-0 lead.

Exiles 300Connacht dominated the next 15 minutes and were unlucky not to capitalise on a searing break by flanker Kevin Hastings when quick recycled ball was moved swiftly across the backline but winger Sean Doyle was squeezed into touch by a great try saving tackle from Alex Corry.  Connacht continued to dominate but in their frantic efforts to get on the scoreboard they forced a pass that was gratefully intercepted by the Exiles to allow winger Matt Killeen to score an opportunist try and leave Connacht in some trouble on a score of 10-0. To their credit Connacht stuck with the game plan and were rewarded when flanker Mark Kelly crashed over after some great approach work by forwards Conor Kyne and Peter Claffey. The try was converted to leave the half time score at 10-7 to the Exiles.

Exiles v Connacht300From the restart the Exiles back row of No 8 Lorcan Dow and flanker Charlie Greene drove deep into Connacht’s 22 and cleverly used their greater numbers to score in the corner, the difficult kick was beautifully converted to give the Exiles a commanding 17-5 lead. Connacht’s response was swift as a great team effort produced a try which brought them back to within striking distance on a 17-12 score line. Almost immediately the Exiles responded with a deep drive into Connacht territory where the Exiles scrum half Jack Cullen gratefully accepted a scrum turnover to intelligently unleash his backs to score a peach of a try and push the score to 22-12. The Exiles dominated the next 15 minutes and kept Connacht pined in their own half. With time running out Connacht at last started to get some controlled possession and great running by backs Dwayne Corcoran and Cathal Evans nearly yielded a score. Connacht’s efforts were eventually rewarded when a series of recycles allowed centre Sean O’Hagan to stretch out and bring Connacht to within a score on 22-17. Connacht continued to look for the winning score but the Exiles defence held firm to give then the spoils.

Next up for the Exiles is a trip to Munster where next weekend they take on the Munster U18’s. Meanwhile on Wed 5th September Connacht will travel to Musgrave Park where they will take on Munster Schools in their first match of the inter-provincial series. 

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