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First blood to Irish as Wales feel the force

Ireland are on course to secure the U-20 Six Nations title after a magnificent first-half performance laid the bedrock for this superb win over Wales in Athlone last night

The Welsh challenge was dismissed with an awesome first-half display which saw Ireland head in at the break 17-0 up.

The big lead was needed as Wales, the only team to defeat Ireland in Dubarry Park since the U-20 games moved there a few years ago, stepped up several gears after the restart.

Ten points though was as near as they came to bridging the gap until the dying seconds of a fine contest when Wales got their third try after the TMO awarded the effort to winger James Loxton in the right corner.

The game started and finished with tries but it was Ireland who got the dream start when hooker Niall Annett charged down a clearance to touchdown inside 15 seconds.

James McKinney, who kicked four from four, landed the conversion from the left.

McKinney tacked on a penalty 10 minutes later and Patrick Butler extended the lead after lock David O'Callaghan cut a perfect line through the middle to send the big No 8 over for the try of the night.

Full-back David Fish hauled the Welsh back into contention six minutes after the restart but their hopes of a comeback were quickly dashed when a superb grubber from McKinney put Eoin Grffin over for the decisive try after 48 minutes.

Fish scored again five minutes later but Loxton’s late score proved only a consolation as Ireland marched on.

Belfast Telegraph