venue: Slavia Prague, Prague
3rd September 2008
Full Match Report
U18 EUROPEAN CUP QUALIFYING MATCH
Defending champions France entered the competition and needed a try from centre Pierre Louis Bourrel to finally subdue the gallant Irish in the Prague sun, winning 40-34.
Impressive loose forward Thibaud Margalet gave the French an early lead, hooker Alexis Alberola, another who was a constant threat, extending it with a typical sniping dart. Ireland’s cause was not helped by the sin binning of Danny Clayton but they rallied, Joe Mulhern crossing and Liam Walsh adding the extras.
Both sides had chances in an increasingly feisty clash, Margalet crossing for his second score, Alexis Falip converting. Another converted try, this time from Thomas Nakkache, gave the French a 24-6 lead but just on halftime replacement William Wallace cut the deficit.
Clayton made up with for his earlier indiscretion with a try at the start of the second half but again the French took control on the back of some Irish indiscipline, Falip kicking two penalties and winger Damian Cardace with a touchdown making it 32-18 with barely a quarter of an hour to go.
Callum Mulhern crossed and Walsh added the extras to set up a tense finish, an Alberola penalty keeping the Tricolours in control. Full back Clayton then received his marching orders for dissent, the French kicking the resulting penalty but in a dramatic finale Joe Mulhern and Wallace claimed quick fire braces, Walsh kicking a goal to make it 36-34.
With an upset on the cards, the French remained composed and got the ball wide to Bourrel who sealed the win.
Steven Gongora, Damien Cardace, Pierre Louis Bourrel, Jean-Marc Giraud, Maxime Berga, Damien Jacquet, Joris Bissiere, Theo Bonneriez, Alexis Alberola, Andrew Bigat, Leo Baixas, Alexis Falip, Thibaud Margalet. Subs: Romain Vigroux, Marc Meye, Thomas Nakkache, Anthony Deleigne
Danny Clayton, Peter Carr, James Wallace, Joe Mulhern, Dave Townend, Josh Rogerson, Liam Walsh, Josh Cooper, Sean Garrety, Sean Ward, Callum Mulhern, Matt Sheard, Louis McKenna. Subs: William Wallace, Callum Donohue, Callum Barry, Duane Scott