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Ireland suffer dramatic shock defeat to set up U18 Euro clash with Wales

Ireland U18 lost their opening game of the U18 European Championships in a dramatic encounter against Georgia.

The Irish U18s lost 3-1 in a penalty kick shoot out after the game finished 8-8 at the end of normal time in Mountauban.

Ireland actually lead 8-3 at half time through a Robetr Lyttle try and penalty from captain Bill Johnston, however Georgia battled hard in the second half to level the game at 8-8.

An opportunity to win the game came late in the second half but a tricky penalty chance drifted just wide, putting the game into a penalty shoot out.

Each side had five penalties, one in front of the posts, one left, one right, and then two more in front of the posts.

Ireland replacement Conor Dean converted first, with Georgian flanker Shota Areshidze leveling. Johnston then missed from the left, pulling his effort to the right of the posts, while full-back Mirian Modebadze put Georgia in front and Irish centre Tim Foley missed from the right.

Georgia’s out-half Dato Modzghvrishvili converted from the right and when Nash missed Ireland’s fourth kick, it gave the Georgians the win and a semi-final place against Italy.

Ireland meanwhile will play Wales in the bottom half of the draw, Wales lost 14-13 to Italy, putting Italy into the semi finals, with Wales joining Ireland, Portugal and Scotland in the semi final section to aim for 5th place.

Both Wales and Ireland will be disappointed to find themselves out of the main semi final draw, they will be determined to turn in a good performance, as IRFU High Performance Manager Colin McEntee said after the game:

“We have Wales to concentrate on now. While they (the players) are disappointed, the challenge now is to turn that into a performance against Wales – that is what they are going to do,”

“Wales were expected to beat Italy and Italy turned them over. For our boys, you are playing one of your neighbours in the Six Nations. It is a really good opportunity to harness that disappointment into a performance.”

“This is the first tournament for most of the guys and there is a massive learning curve. Massive development happens throughout the tournament, irrespective of the result. A lot of guys will kick on from this.

“The tournament format, you are playing every four days, so you are feeling sorry for yourself or you are the opposite, you have a game in four days. That prepares guys for the future. It’s trying to get the guys in the best shape physically and mentally and prepare for Tuesday…look forward and learn from what has happened.”

Ireland U18 XV:

15 Colm Hogan (Glenstal Abbey)

14 Calvin Nash (Crescent College Limerick)

13 Jack Kelly (St. Michael’s College)

12 Tim Foley (Cistercian College Roscrea)

11 Robert Lyttle (Methodist College Belfast)

10 Bill Johnston (Rockwell College) (c)

9 Jack Lyons (Crescent College Limerick)

1 Daniel Kealey (Campbell College Belfast)

2 Conor McEvoy (Sullivan Upper School)

3 Peter Cooper (Sullivan Upper School)

4 Cillian Gallagher (Summerhill College Sligo)

5 Oisin Dowling (St. Michael’s College)

6 Caelan Doris (Blackrock College)

7 Jonny Guy (St. Andrew’s College)

8 John Foley (St. Munchin’s College Limerick)

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