IRELAND, who had looked so comfortable and composed particularly in the pack when disposing of Scotland a week earlier, were on the receiving end last Friday night when Wales inflicted a 16-0 ELECTRIC IRELAND U-20 RBS Six Nations Championship defeat on the home nation at Dubarry Park, Athlone.  Despite another wet and windy night, a decent crowd including President Michael D.Higgins did their best to spur the boys in green but Wales proved much too strong, especially in the pack, to run out worthy winners. 

Wales had the assistance of the elements in the opening half but Ethan Davies missed two penalties in the opening quarter and kicked another effort for touch over the deadball line. Ireland too had chances in that period but Ross Byrne, so accurate the previous Friday, was off-target with a brace of penalties. Davies finally found the range with an amazing banana style placekick via the far upright to put Wales 3-0 ahead on 25 minutes. Ireland lost influential lock Sean O’Brien though injury after 31 minutes but, with Davies missing a further three shots at goal, Ireland looked in a decent position just 3-0 down at halftime.

Cian Kelleher, Ireland’s only change to the starting XV from the win over Scotland, had a mixed input including a knock on in a promising raid five minutes after the restart. Davies had better success against the elements, converting penalties on 50 and 54 minutes to edge Wales 9-0 ahead. Ireland were now really struggling in the forwards exchanges although Peter Dooley made a rampaging break after 57 minutes. However, Wales (Junior World Cup runners-up last summer) carved open the home defence on 61 minutes in a fine flowing move finished off in style by their captain Steffan Hughes. Davies converted to complete the scoring.

Ireland battled gamely to salvage some pride and should have scored a try eleven minutes from time but Ian Fitzpatrick ignored a two-man overlap and he lost possession in a gilt-edged position. Wales, for whom flanker James Benjamin’s outstanding work earned him the ELECTRIC IRELAND Man of the Match award, thus became the first nation to defeat Ireland more than once at Dubarry Park

Footnote:-  Cornafulla and Cloonakilla National Schools played during half-time while Tang and Glanduff National Schools did the honours at the Scotland match. 

IRELAND:- David Busby (Queen’s University/Ulster); Cian Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster), Gary Ringrose (UCD/Leinster), Peter Robb (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster); Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Nick McCarthy (UCD/Leinster); Peter Dooley (Lansdowne/Leinster), Max Abbott (Cork Constitution/Munster), Rory Burke (Cork Constitution/Munster), Sean O’Brien (Galwegians/Connacht), Ross Molony (UCD/Leinster), Peadar Timmins (UCD/Leinster), Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) (capt), Jack O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster). Replacements used:- Joe Joyce (Bristol/Exiles) for O’Brien (31 mins), Oisin Heffernan (Lansdowne/Leinster) for Burke (55), Dan Goggin (Young Munster/Munster) for Ringsrose, Frankie Taggart (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) for Molony (both 63), Denis Coulson (Lansdowne/Leinster) for Dooley (66), Conor McKeon (Lansdowne/Leinster) for Byrne (71). Not used: Jack Cullen (Bruff/Munster).Wales U20sLineups

WALES:- Afon Bagshaw (RGC); Ashton Hewitt (Dragons), Steffan Hughes (Scarlets) (capt), Garyn Smith (Blues), Joshua Adams (Scarlets); Ethan Davies (Dragons), Tom Williams (Blues); Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Ethan Lewis (Blues), Nicky Thomas (Ospreys), Scott Andrews (Dragons), James Sheekey (Blues), Will Boyde (Carmarthen), James Benjamin (Dragons), Ben Roach (Blues). Replacements used:- Ollie Griffiths (Dragons) for Roach, Scott Otten (Ospreys) for E Lewis, Callum Lewis (Blues) for Thomas (all 63 mins), Tyler Morgan (Dragons) for G Smith (65), Rory Thornton (Ospreys) for Sheekey (68), Connor Lloyd (Scarlets) for Williams (72), Luke Garrett (Dragons) for N Smith, Luke Price (Ospreys) for Davies (both 75).

Referee:- Tom Foley (England). 


Mini-Rugby between Ballina RFC and Loughrea RFC