We thought they might have been a bit slow out of the blocks but Ireland U20 hit the ground running with a six try 38 – 26 win against Scotland U20 at Irish Independent Park on Friday evening.
The defining moment came at the end of a tight first half when a late long range try from Jack Crowley pushed Ireland 21 – 12 clear at the break.
Ireland kicked on with three tries in the third quarter to move clear but Scotland hit back and rescued a try bonus point with the last play of the game.
It was that man Crowley that opened the Irish account after finishing off a break by Dan Kelly inside the first 10 minutes. Crowley added the extras and Ireland were on their way.
However, Scotland hit back at the end of the first quarter as Ewan Ashman broke a tackle to power over after an attacking lineout. Chamberlain converted to tie the game.
Ireland resumed the lead at the start of the second quarter with Thomas Clarkson finding the line after a period of sustained pressure in the Scottish 22, Crowley converting to move the score to 14 – 7 in Ireland favour.
The tit for tat continued as Scotland replied with their second, Jack Blain scampering over in the corner after the Ireland defence was stretched left and right. No conversion leaving Ireland 14 – 12 ahead after 35 mins.
Scotland looked to be bucking the trend as they piled on the pressure for another score but they were dealt a huge blow as a knock on in the Ireland 22 was picked up by Crowley who sprinted the length of the pitch for a remarkable score, of course converted, to give Ireland a 21 – 12 lead at the break.
Ireland cut loose at the start of the second half with Andrew Smith crossing, after great work by Sean O’Brien, and Thomas Aherne bounced over, after great work by Tom Stewart, to push the score along to 33 – 12 with one converted.
Despite the scoreline, Scotland still felt they were in the game and an outrageous dummy from Chamberlain saw him trot over for a try he converted.
However a late yellow card stymied their efforts and John McKee went over for Ireland at the back of a lineout maul.
Scotland battled on well past the 80 minute mark and got some reward for their efforts when Cameron Scott scored with the last play of the match. Chamberlain converted to give a final score of Ireland 38 Scotland 26.
IRELAND U20: Oran McNulty, Ethan McIlroy, Dan Kelly, Hayden Hyde, Andrew Smith, Jack Crowley, Lewis Finlay, Charlie Ward,Tom Stewart, Thomas Clarkson, Brian Deeny, Thomas Ahern, Sean O’Brien, Mark Hernan, David McCann (C). Replacements used: Ciaran Ryan, Luis Faria, John McKee, Joe McCarthy, Alexis Soroka, Tim Corkery, Ryan McMahon, Ben Murphy.
SCOTLAND U20: Ollie Smith, Jacob Henry, Matthew Currie, Robbie McCallum, Jack Blain, Nathan Chamberlain, Roan Frostwick, Alex Maxwell, Ewan Ashman, Mak Wilson, Kieran Watt, Cameron Henderson, Jack Hill, Connor Boyle, Rory Darge (C). Replacements used: Rory Jackson, Thomas Lambert, Rufus McLean, Kyle McGhie, Jamie Campbell, George Breese, Gregor Brown, Cameron Scott.