- England Counties beat Ireland Club XV 34-26
- Counties extend their unbeaten run
England Counties beat Ireland Club XV 34-26 in tense encounter at Cork Constitution on Friday night. It was a high tempo affair with England needing a late second-half surge to quell the Irish in a competitive encounter on Temple Hill.
The victory was England's second of the season following their 45-28 victory over Scotland in February.
England started well with Joe Tarrant linking up with Heath Stevens to break through Ireland's defensive line before Tarrant squeezed over the line to score.
Ireland fought back and found reward in a Scott Deasy penalty kick. Any momentum was quickly quelled for the Irish as Keith Laughlin created space for Peter White to fizzle through the Irish defence and add to England’s lead. Tarrant once again converted and England led 14-3.
Despite the score line Ireland dug deep and found a lifeline when Karl Moran passing through to Matt D’Arcy for the centre score. The narrow angle of the try prevented Scott Deasy from converting.
Minutes later Ireland scored again thanks to Deasy whose cool head from the penalty spot brought the score back to three points.
But England showed no signs of tiring as Marcus Burcham slipped down the right hand flank after a loose run of play and ran over the line to extend England’s lead. Tarrant once again converted and England eased into half-time with a ten point advantage.
Deasy and Tarrant swapped penalty kicks early in the second-half but England’s persistence outshone the Irish’s attempts towards a comeback.
A swift counter attack by the visitors gave Leo Fielding the chance to score his first try of the game. A missed conversion gave hope to the hosts and Ireland bounced back thanks to substitute Paul Pritchard who twisted the ball through into space to cross the line to salvage five points for the side. Scott Deasy converted and England led by 10.
Ireland surged forward and were awarded once again when substitute Patrick Finlay found space to score. With the comeback taking momentum; England raised the tempo and swiftly regained procession. Substitute James Williams added three points for the English to give the visitors the win.
"After the first half we controlled the ball well against a strong wind but we gave Ireland a few silly points," said England head coach James Shanahan.
“This is a tough place to come and win, but now it’s one defeat in seventeen to us and we are pretty happy with that record”.
Ireland: E Mills, S Coughlan, M Courtney (A O’Byrne), M D’Arcy, R Jermyn, S Deasy, N Cronin, V Abdeladze (E O’Sullivan), M Abbot (P Finlay), I Prendiville (G Sweeney), E Earle (P Pritchard), B Riely, A Kennedy (K McCoy), K Moran (P Guerin), T Ryan.
Replacements: P Finlay, G Sweeney, E O’Sullivan, K McCoy, Andrew O’Byrne, P Pritchard, R Guerin, P Osbourne.
England: M Wilcox, J Stokes (S Baker), M Burcham, H Stevens, L Fielding, J Tarrant (J Williams), P White (P Brazier), T Davison (H King), M Miles (T Stagg), D Pullinger (J Litchfield), G Oram, N Dacres (J Polledri), K Laughlin, J Peerce (H Bate), T Baldwin,
Replacements: T Stagg (M Miles), H King (T Davison), J Litchfield (D Pullinger), J Polledri (N Dacres), H Bate (J Peerce), D Brazier, J Williams (J Tarrant), S Baker (J Stokes).