Ireland made it two from two in the the Six Nations U20 Championship after following up their home win over England with a comfortable victory against Scotland at Netherdale last night.
Though the Irish coach Noel McNamara admitted “there was lots to feel frustrated about” there was never any doubt about which side was going to win the game.
The young Irish side were always in control of the game and notably in the forward battle, even more crucial last night in conditions of strong wind and rain.
The backs too showed their skills and frequently punctured the Scotland defence, with thrilling running from centre Liam Turner, the man of the match.
Ireland also defended strongly, denying the Scots chances to tilt at the try line with trenchant tackling.
But it was the go-forward play of the back row, reminiscent of Joe Schmidt’s side, that really differentiated the two teams.
Ireland playing with the strong wind at their backs. made a shaky start to the match by kicking the ball dead but the visitors soon made amends with powerful driving forward play that ultimately resulted in a penalty under the posts and an easy three points for Harry Byrne.
Then, after full-back Jake Flannery had put the Scots on the back foot with a long kick upfield, Ireland attacked the home line. Flanker Scott Penny was held up over the Scotland line but moments later hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin burrowed over leaving Byrne with a simple conversion kick.
The Scots, however, produced their own attacking efforts and twice threatened the Ireland line only for hooker Ewan Ashman to lose possession from a driving maul and for wing Jack Blain to be denied a touchdown after a brave tackle from Jonathan Wren.
But with their defence able to contain a lively Ireland back division and with the prospect of playing into the wind in the second half, the Scots were perhaps not overly worried at trailing 10-0 at the break.
Despite facing the elements, Ireland continued to dominate both territory and possession and, after repeatedly battering the Scotland defence, they finally made their second half breakthrough when John Hodnett crashed over from short range, Byrne converting for a 17-0 lead.
Scotland had dug in defiantly and finally received a reward for their efforts, when from a line-out five metres from the Irish line, the home forwards mauled effectively for skipper Conor Boyle to dive over for his side’s only try of the game, but replacement Nathan Chamberlain missed the subsequent conversion.
Ireland hit back effectively, controlling the closing stages and on the final whistle claimed their third try when Wren outpaced the defence to touch down under the posts giving Byrne, for the fourth time in the game another straightforward conversion to seal their win.
Scorers for Scotland: Try: Boyle.
Scorers for Ireland: Tries Tierney-Martin, Hodnett, Wren Cons Byrne (3) Pen Byrne.
SCOTLAND: R McLean; R McMichael, C Anderson (M Davidson 48), R McCallum, J Blain; R Thompson (N Chamberlain 46), R Frostwick (K McGhie 60); M Walker (A Nimmo ), E Ashman (A Fraser 64), E McLaren(W Hurd 64), C Henderson, E Johnson (R Bundy 60), C Jupp, C Boyle, K Van Niekirk (J Mann 60).
IRELAND: J Flannery; C Phillips, L Turner, D Hawkshaw, J Wren; H Byrne, C Foley (C Reilly 62); J Wycherley (M Milne 62 ), D Tierney-Martin (J McKee 62 ), T Clarkson, C Ryan, N Murray, M Moloney, S Penny (D McCann 63), J Hodnett.
Referee: Andrea Piardi (FIR).