Grand Slam for England as Ireland just fall short

Ireland 10 England 14: Gavin Coombes’ late try was not enough to deny England U-20s a Grand Slam as Nigel Carolan’s side fell just short in Donnybrook.

Coombes crashed over 15 minutes from time, and despite a huge effort in the closing stages, the deciding second try never materialised for Ireland.

Playing with the howling wind at their back in the first-half, surprisingly it was Ireland who struggled to get out of their half, but England looked a tentative as good home defence meant they failed to get an early score.

But 17 minutes in the Grand Slam chasers finally took the lead. Charlie Connolly was fortunate not to be sin-binned when he denied England a certain score after he came in the side of a maul.

But from the penalty and lineout that followed, Jack Nay was picked out with a quick throw to the front and he crashed over. Max Malins converted.

If the first quarter was dominated by the visitors, Ireland ruled the second, but they couldn’t convert until Billy Johnston’s 40th-minute penalty.

But crucially Ireland failed to gather the restart, and after some controlled phase play Henry Walker ran over to make it 14-3 at the break.

Irish prop Joey Conway looked to have crossed for Ireland in the 54th minute but he was held up over the line, but 10 minutes later Coombes picked and jammed over the line to give Ireland hope.

But when Jordan Larmour failed to get his hands on an intercept with three minutes left England held on.

Scorers for Ireland:

G Coombes try; B Johnston con, pen

Scorers for England:

J Nay, H Walker tries; M Malins 2 cons

IRELAND:

J Larmour; T O’Brien, G Mullin, C Frawley, C Nash (capt) (C Hogan 71); B Johnston (C Fitzgerald 71), J Stewart (J Stafford 61); J Conway (G McGrath 78), T McElroy (R Kelleher 53), C Connolly (M Burke 53); F Wycherley, O Dowling (G Coombes 33); J Foley (J Regan 63), P Boyle, C Doris.

ENGLAND:

T Parton; J Cokanasiga, D Morris, W Butler (M Wright 50), S Aspland-Robinson; M Malins (T Brophy Clewes 78), H Randall; O Dawe (R Adams-Hale 50), H Walker, C Knight (J Morris 50); J Nay (J Clegg 59), N Isiekwe; T Curry (J Bayliss 53), B Curry (J Blamire 74), Z Mercer (capt).

Referee:

P. Brousset (France).

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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