THE Irish U-20s’s side, including three Limerick-based players in their starting team, have reached the semi-finals of the Junior World Championships in New Zealand for the first time in their history.
Ireland rounded off their pool fixtures with a resounding 38-0, bonus point, win over Fiji in Auckland earlier this Tuesday.
A combination of that victory and Wales’ win over France also in the pool, ensures Mike Ruddock’s Ireland side qualified for the last four stage of the competition as winners of Group B.
Ireland are joined in the semi-finals by England and South Africa and either New Zealand or Australia.
The team’s starting line-up included talented Young Munster centre Dan Goggin and Garryowen’s exciting winger Alex Wootton. The side has been brilliantly captained by UL-Bohemians number eight Jack O’Donoghue.
The Irish squad at the Junior World Championships also includes another Limerickman, back-row Diarmuid Dee, of Young Munster.
Limerick-based Munster Rugby Elite Player Development Office Greig Oliver is an assistant coach with Ireland
Ciaran Gaffney and Conor McKeon both crossed the whitewash, in addition to three penalty tries, as Ireland eased to victory in wet conditions.
IRELAND U-20S - Cian Kelleher (Leinster); Ciaran Gaffney (Connacht), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Dan Goggin (Young Munster/Munster), Alex Wootton (Garryowen/Munster); Ross Byrne (Leinster), Ryan Foley (Cork Constitution/Munster); Peter Dooley (Leinster), Max Abbott (Cork Constitution/Munster), Rory Burke (Cork Constitution/Munster), Stephen Gardiner (Leinster), Ross Molony (Leinster), Josh Murphy (Leinster), Rory Moloney (Connacht), Jack O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt). Replacements used: Harrison Brewer (Leinster) for Goggin (8-15 mins, temp sub), Nick McCarthy (Leinster) for Foley, Frankie Taggart (Ulster) for Murphy (both 44), Oisin Heffernan (Leinster) for Burke (53), Brewer for Goggin (56), Dylan Donnellan (Leinster) for Abbott (57), Conor McKeon (Leinster) for Byrne (59), Denis Coulson (Leinster) for Dooley (65), Darragh Moloney (Cork Constitution/Munster) for O’Donoghue (72).