Cork Constitution Under 20 coach Tom Mulcahy believes Ireland won’t allow England “to play their game” in the World U20 Championship final on Saturday.
As coach of Evan Mintern, Vincent O’Brien and Shane Daly, Mulcahy thinks Ireland have every opportunity to create history, citing the team’s organisation as a big component of their successful campaign.
“I watched England play against South Africa and I have to say they are a joy to watch. Their ball-handling from 1-15 is incredible.
“But with Ireland’s line speed and organisation, I don’t think they will let England play with pace and you can be sure they will be in their faces.”
One of many outstanding backs in Ireland’s campaign, Shane Daly had an impressive outing against Argentina, rounding up a professional team display with an interception try.
The 19-year-old is already a big cog in the Cork Con machine, having played in the AIL final earlier this season.
“Shane’s try was the icing on the cake for me and you can see how hard he works along with the other 22 players. If a ball is dropped, he’s always first to arrive.
“He reacts so quickly to what is in front of him no matter what the situation is. It also helps that he is quick off the mark and is very reliable defensively.”
Mintern and O’Brien haven’t featured as heavily as their teammate but have no doubt contributed to the Irish cause.
Club coaches John O’Neill and Paul McCarthy have played a big role in these players’ development over the last two seasons and Mulcahy thinks Mintern has a big future in the Cork Con back row.
He also revealed how hard Vincent O’Brien worked to make it on the panel after a persistent shoulder injury.
“I watched Vince struggle with injury as recently as two months ago. His shoulder was giving him a lot of bother when he was throwing but it was great to see him out there against Argentina. He’s a very powerful ball carrier and is like a rock in the scrum,” Mulcahy said, before drawing comparisons with Keith Wood.
While O’Brien was lucky enough to put his injury woes behind him and be selected to represent Ireland, his club team mates were omitted from the final squad.
Flanker Dan Walsh and scrum-half John Poland were an integral part of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign but failed to make the cut for the U20 Championship.
A club with such a proud history, Cork Con have had their fair share of achievements with no little thanks to legends like O’Gara, O’Mahony, O’Callaghan and Mick O’Driscoll bringing home Six Nations titles and Heineken Cups.
Where would a U20 Championship title rank?
“It would be right up there with all the Triple Crowns and the Grand Slam.” Mulcahy stated.
“It’s amazing what these young lads have achieved so far. The competition has been dominated by the southern hemisphere over the last few years and it’s just unbelievable to see Ireland in a final with England.
“I wish them the best of luck and take my hat off to the coaches, especially Nigel Carolan.
“To beat New Zealand in the way they did was incredible and they looked brilliant against Argentina. It should be a great final.”
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