Garryowen hooker stars but Irish U-20s lose agonisingly to France

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Garryowen hooker stars but Irish U-20s lose agonisingly to France

Former Crescent College Comprehensive star Daniel Hurley in action for the Ireland U-20s in their World Rugby U20 Championship clash with France in Perpignan on Wednesday evening

THE Ireland U-20s opened their World Rugby U-20 championship campaign with a narrow 26-24 defeat to hosts France despite a tenacious display at the Stade Aimee Giral in Perpignan on Wednesday night.

A losing bonus point was the very least the battling Irish side deserved from their tenacious display in which Garryowen hooker Diarmuid Barron impressed hugely.

Ireland looked well placed to stun their hosts on the opening night of the competition when leading 17-5 at half-time.

However, France took control after the restart, blitzing Ireland with three converted tries in a five minute spell.

However, Ireland finished well and Harry Byrne got in for their third try to net a bonus point which could yet prove invaluable.

There was disappointment in that opening half for former Crescent College Comprehensive player Daniel Hurley as the winger had to be replaced due to injury inside the opening half an hour.

After receiving a late call-up for last year's U-20 tournament in Georgia, Garryowen hooker Barron made his Ireland U-20s debut in a pool opener against Italy where a fractured thumb unfortunately brought his Championship to an abrupt end.

However, he made the most of his opportunity on Wednesday night to turn in a terrific display at set-piece time as well as in the loose.

Former Munster captain Paul O’Connell is an assistant coach with the Irish U-20s squad.

Next up for the Ireland U-20s is a crucial pool fixture with South Africa on Sunday next at 3.30pm Irish time, live on eir Sport.

SCORERS: Ireland U-20s: Tries: Joe Dunleavy, Hugh O’Sullivan, Harry Byrne. Conversions: Harry Byrne 3; Penalties: Harry Byrne 1. France: Tries: Maxime Marty (2), Artur Coville, Romain Ntamack; Conversions: Romain Ntamack 3.

FRANCE U-20S: Clement Laporte; Lucas Tauzin, Pierre LouIs Barassi, Adrien Seguret, Maxime Marty, Romain Ntamack, Artur Coville (Capt) ; Hassane Kolingar, Maxime Lamothe, Daniel Brennan; Thomas Lavault, Killian Geraci; Sacha Zegueur, Cameron Woki, Charlie Francoz. Replacements: Guillaume Marchand, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Demba Bamba, Pierre-Henri Azagoh, Jordan Joseph, Jules Gimbert, Louis Carbonel, Matthis Lebel.

IRELAND U-20: Michael Silvester (Dublin University/Leinster); Tom Roche (Lansdowne/Leinster), Tommy O'Brien (UCD/Leinster), Peter Sylvester (UCC/Munster), Dan Hurley (Young Munster/Munster); Harry Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Hugh O'Sullivan (Clontarf/Leinster); Jordan Duggan (Naas/Leinster), Diarmuid Barron (Garryowen/Munster), Jack Aungier (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Matthew Dalton (Malone/Ulster), Jack Dunne (Dublin University/Leinster), Joe Dunleavy (Malone/Ulster), Matthew Agnew (Ballymena/Ulster), Caelan Doris (St. Mary's College/Leinster) (capt). Replacements: Dan Sheehan (Dublin University/Leinster), Joe Byrne (Dublin University/Leinster), Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster), Aaron Hall (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Jonny Stewart (Queen's University/Ulster), Conor Dean (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Sean O'Brien (Clontarf/Leinster).

REFEREE: Karl Dickson (England)