Denied: Ireland Under-18s lose out to England in Euro final

The Irish teenagers accounted for Portugal and France but were outclassed by the Auld Enemy

Ireland's Bobby Holland was lively but ended up on the losing side
Ireland's Bobby Holland was lively but ended up on the losing side
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

THE IRELAND UNDER-18 side came up short of a European Championship win on Saturday as they lost out 25-13 to England.

The Irish team went into the clash in Madrid as defending champions. They were captained by Daniel Leavy and the squad contained many of his St Michael’s teammates that won the Leinster Senior Cup in March.

Terry McMaster’s young charges had defeated France midweek to set up an enticing clash with a talented English side but they fell behind early doors.

With just two minutes on the clock, England hooker Harry Thacker finished off a sweeping team drive. Irish out-half Conor McKeon spurned a penalty chance before the pacy Javiah Pohe ghosted over to make it 12-0.

McKeon tagged the English back with two penalties before the break but a Billy Burns kick and a try for Newcastle Falcons’ prop Scott Wilson put the English in the driving seat.

Irish substitute Cian Kelleher touched down after side-stepping two covering defenders with 10 minutes left. The conversion made it 22-13 but England added the final score when Sam Olver slotted over.

Ireland captain Daniel Leavy said, “I think we probably gave them too big a start and as a team we dropped our concentration that cost us two tries. Against good sides you can’t do that. We came back into it really well, but the momentum was certainly with them. I was proud how we kept playing, but unfortunately we just came up short.”

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