Honours even as late Jackson miss costs U20s

IRELAND U20 missed a chance of victory as Paddy Jackson struck the post with an injury-time conversion at Parc Y Scarlets.

First half tries from Martin Moore and Craig Gilroy helped edge Ireland into an 18-17 lead at the interval.

But a resurgent Wales fought back and looked to have clinched a hard-fought victory. The drama was not over, however; David Doyle touched down for Ireland in the 83rd minute to level the scores. All eyes turned to Jackson but his well-struck conversion rebounded off the posts as Mike Ruddock’s men settled for a draw and remained fourth in the Championship.

Jackson had edged Ireland into an early lead but Wales hit back with an opportunist try on three minutes.

Blane McIlroy’s wayward pass was hacked forward and Michael Sherlock failed to control the bouncing ball close to the Irish try-line, with Adam Warren pouncing to score. Matthew Morgan easily slotted the conversion to give the hosts a 7-3 lead.

Jackson cut the deficit to a point on nine minutes and Ireland soon took a hold on the game when Moore rumbled over from close range to hand his side an 11-7 lead.

Ruddock’s men quickly extended that thanks to Gilroy. The wing hit the line at pace on 22 minutes and stepped inside the Welsh full-back before powering through three defenders to celebrate his 20th birthday with a try. Jackson added the extras to put Ireland into an 18-7 lead.

But Wales took advantage of another Irish mistake to claw back into the game. McIlroy was again the guilty party and lost the ball in the tackle. Harry Robinson broke clear, passing to Owen Williams to score. Morgan was on target and added a penalty moments later.

But Ireland started the second-half like the first with a Jackson penalty to bring the scores to 21-17.

Morgan slotted three penalties in quick succession inside the final ten minutes to nudge the hosts into a 26-21 lead. But deep into injury time Doyle burrowed over before suffering heart-break with Jackson’s narrow miss.

Scorers for Wales: A Warren, O Williams try each; M Morgan 2 cons, 3 pens.

Scorers for Ireland: M Moore, C Gilroy, D Doyle try each; P Jackson con, 3 pens.

WALES: S Shingler; A Warren (R James, 60), B John, O Williams, H Robinson; M Morgan, L Jones (J Evans, 63); R Jones (R Evans, 50), K Myhill (S Parry, 65), W Taylor; M Cook (capt), M Screech (C Hill, 45); E Siggery, B Thomas, L Hamilton.

IRELAND: M Sherlock; C Gilroy, A Kelly, L Marshall, A Boyle; P Jackson, B McIlroy (M Dolan, 55); J Tracy, N Annett (capt, D Doyle, 13), M Moore (T Furlong, 73), M Kearney, D Qualter (N Henderson, 59), S Buckley, J Murphy, A Connelly.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)

Picture: David Doyle, Ireland, scores his side's third try to level the match despite the tackle from Harry Robinson, left, and Matthew Morgan, Wales. Picture: SPORTSFILE

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