6 Munster players on victorious Ireland U18 7s side in Germany

The Irish U18 side have won the competition for the second year in a row defeating France U18 in the final.

In a repeat of last years final, Ireland Under 18 7’s side defeated France on a scoreline of 21-19 to win the European Under 18 championships. Tries from Eoghan Barrett Hugo Lennox and Aaron Sexton helped Ireland to secure the victory for the second time in as many years.

2017 has been a superb year for Mean and Women’s sevens in Ireland with both senior sides qualifying for the Sevens Rugby World Cup. The men finished second in their Rugby Europe Grand Prix series securing qualification whilst the Women also had their highest finish in the World Sevens Series. The Ireland Under 18 Girls won the UK schools games last weekend to cap a superb sevens season so far.

The Irish under 18 sevens side were in Group A with hosts Germany, Luxembourg and Georgia and on the first day of the competition won two out of their three fixtures beating Georgia 26-12 and Luxembourg 54-5 before going down to the Germans 17-14. However this was to be their only loss on the way to the Championship win.

On day 2 Anthony Eddys side defeated Spain 22-0 in the Cup quarter final in their first game. Next up for Ireland was Wales, and Angus Kernohan and his side had to dig deep and come back from two tries down to bat the Welsh 19-10. This set up a final against a France side who hadn’t lost a game and only conceded three tries to this point.

In their opening game the Ireland Under 18 7’s side faced Georgia where they came away with a 26-12 victory. Two tries on either side of half time helped Ireland to their first win of the tournament. Pres Bray scrum half Elliot Ryan opened the scoring for the Irish after he broke off the back of a scrum on his own 10 metre line to sidestep past some Georgian all the way to the try line.

Ireland’s second try came form good defensive pressure from team captain Angus Kernohan who forced a forward pass surrendering possession to Ireland who strung a few passes together before giving the ball to Commonwealth Youth games 200 metre sprint winner, Aaron Sexton, to sprint away and touch down.

Ireland’s next score was created by new Shannon RFC recruit Kieran Dunne after his powerful run and offload set up Hugo Lennox and Eoghan Barrett to exchange passes before the later touched down under the posts in what was a nice move.

Georgia hit straight back however after some poor defence by the Irish. The impressive Pres Bray man, Ryan. soon added another try to his tally after the Georgians scored when he manoeuvred his way past three defenders to score another long range try. He added the two points to put a bit more breathing space between the two sides again and brought his tally for the day to 16 points.

Glenstal and Munster’s Ronan Quinn went over for his sides fifth before Georgia finished the scoring in the end bridging the gap between the two sides to 14 points in the end.

Next up for Ireland was a fairly untraditional Rugby side in Luxembourg. It was the perfect start for Ireland when Eoin Monahan’s kick off was gathered by captain Angus Kernohan before he gave it to Oran McNulty who finished in the left corner for an early 5 points. Kernohan was again on hand for the next restart when he won a tussle with some Luxembourg players to release Quinn to score his second of the day.

Kieran Dunne was next to create a score for Ireland when his run set up Aaron Sexton to score under the posts. Tim Duggan then scored after some more excellent work in the air again from Kernohan before Luxembourg got their first of the game just before half time.

After the break Barrett and Munster academy player, James McCarthy, added to the Irish scoreline with two impressive individual scores. CBC’s Monahan added the conversions before dunne wrapped up the scoring for Ireland after he stepped inside two defenders before dotting down.

Germany was next on the cards for Ireland and from the start Eddy’s side struggled. Germany used their power to create space on the outside for their opening scores rushing into a 12-0 lead in the final group A game. Ireland again conceded before the break meaning they had to overturn a 17-0 half time defecit which was never going to be easy.

Knowing a win was important, Ireland began the second half with a try after some good hands from Sexton and Lennox with Sexton scoring and Ryan adding the extra two. Ireland were in again shortly after when McCarthy intercepted before giving it off to Barrett who finished meaning there was now only three points between the sides.

Ireland had a chance to win the game soon after but Lennox’s pass didn’t quite land meaning Germany survived and went on to win the game 17-14. Ireland won the group on points difference setting up a quarter final with Spain on Day 2.

Ireland began their tie with the Pool D runners up well, when Sexton, who was essentially urged up the touchline, raced past a Spanish defender and scored with Monahan converting well.

A strong defensive performance from Kernohan and his team mates meant Spain were stuck in their own half for large periods of the first half. The pressure eventually told when Dunne, Lennox and Sexton retained possession well near the Spanish line before shipping it on to Barrett who skipped past a the opposition to score Irelands second.

At this point Ireland were 12-0 up and looking good and after some good work at the breakdown from Sean Galvin, the eventual Champions, went on to score another through Sexton, after a strong hand off helped him run clear and finish.

Anthony Eddy would have been delighted to see Kieran Dunne go in for his sides next try as it effectively put the game to bed after the sprinter rounded two defenders and went in under the posts.

After their comfortable win over Spain, Wales awaited Ireland in the semi-finals. After a lot of Welsh pressure and some resilient defence from the Irish, they eventually conceded after a missed tackle from Sexton let Wales in in the corner, but it wasn’t converted.

Wales scored again before half time after a clever break down the blindside meaning Ireland had it all to do after the break. Ireland began brightly with Munster sub academy recruit Dunne winning possession before giving it to Lennox who made it into the Welsh half before returning it to Dunne who started the move and then duly finished it.

Dunne was in fine form again for Irelands next score after he got his hands free, despite the attention of two Welsh defenders to offload to Monahan who ran in just to the left of the post and then converted his own score meaning Ireland were now 14-10 ahead with only minutes to go.

Ronan Quinn, who came on as a second half substitute, came close on a few occasion but forward passes and a knock on stopped him from putting the tie to bed. Wales then came back at Ireland who looked under pressure and a vital tap tackle from the Munster under 18 player kept his sides 4 point margin in tact. In the end, when Quinn was given the chance he took it sublimely as he raced from his own 22 to beat a Welsh defender before scoring Irelands try to guarantee a spot in the final for the second year in a row.

France were to be the Irish’s opponent in the final after winning every game they played and being the tournaments top points scorers. A knock on was the only thing between Ireland racing into an early lead in the final. Kernohan knocked on just 10 metres out to give his side the perfect start.

France, who didn’t have a huge amount of possession in the first half, showed why they were the tournaments top points scorers when a simple off load set up their winger to score from what was essentially nothing. Again Ireland could have been in after, if scrum half Ryan could held onto the ball as he was touching down. It was beginning to look like it wasn’t going to be Irelands day.

Ireland kept at it however, and after some fine breakdown work again from Galvin, Ireland had a five metre scrum on the French line and Ryan atoned for his error when he set up Lennox for their sides first score, with Ryan also adding the two. Ireland then switched off from the kick off when France’s receiver ran through to score under the posts meaning they would go in 12-7 leaders.

The second half was another very close affair with both sides giving their all. Ireland’s high tempo, thanks to stand out players Dunne Ryan and Lennox had the French defence under real pressure and it eventually told when Barrett made his way over the lie from close range.

Ireland then, through their defensive pressure, scored another when the ball was dislodged from a French players hands setting up Sexton to run in under the posts unopposed with Ryan adding the easy extras.

France kept at it however and scored next through another breakaway. This was to be their last try though, with Galvin doing some excellent work to defend a chip over the top in the final play of the game sparking huge celebrations from the Irish players and backroom staff.

Rugby Europe U-18 Men’s Sevens – Full Pools & Results

IRELAND UNDER-18 SEVENS Squad (2017 Rugby Europe Under-18 Men’s Sevens Championship, Fritz-Grunebaum-Sportpark, Heidelberg, Germany, Saturday, September 9-Sunday, September 10):

Eoghan Barrett (CBC Cork/Munster)
Kieran Dunne (Shannon RFC/Munster)
Tim Duggan (Crescent College Comprehensive/Munster)
Sean Galvin (Gonzaga College/Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
Angus Kernohan (Ballymena Academy/Ballymena RFC/Ulster) (capt)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC/Leinster)
Eoin Monahan (CBC Cork/Munster)
James McCarthy (Munster Academy/Munster)
Oran McNulty (Millfield School/IQ Rugby)
Ronan Quinn (Glenstal Abbey School/Munster)
Elliott Ryan (Presentation College Bray/Leinster)
Aaron Sexton (Bangor Grammar School/Ulster)


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