Ireland Under-20s celebrate the win over Scotland that virtually rubberstamps the title
Ireland all but wrapped up the RBS Under-20 6 Nations Championship after their 44-15 victory over Scotland left England needing a miracle to knock them off the top spot.
Two tries from both Nevin Spence and Andrew Conway along with one from Tiernan O’Halloran and a 19-point haul from fly-half James McKinney gave Ireland their fourth win of the Championship.
Allen Clarke’s side now hold a significant points advantage over second-place England who would need to beat France by 47 to wrestle the title out of Ireland’s grasp.
Yet despite the ultimately comfortable margin of victory they were not allowed to have things all their own way by a spirited Scottish outfit.
Two penalties from fly-half Alex Blair to one from the outstanding McKinney gave Scotland a 6-3 advantage after ten minutes.
Eventually though the floodgates opened as McKinney exchanged passes with Eoin Griffin before feeding centre Spence for his and Ireland’s first try on 16 minutes.
McKinney converted and quickly added two penalties to take Ireland out to 16-6 and worse was to come for the visitors as Ireland fashioned two further tries before the break.
The first owed to flanker Dominic Ryan’s turnover, finished off by Spence before Griffin fed full-back Conway on the bust. McKinney’s conversions were sandwiched by a Blair penalty to give Ireland a virtually unassailable 30-9 halftime lead.
Blair, a bright presence for Scotland throughout the Championship, would kick two further penalties for the visitors in the second half but he could do little to stem the tide of Irish attacks.
Leinster’s Conway again picked the perfect line to score his second and wing O'Halloran got in on the act as Irish players celebrated wildly at the final whistle, knowing the Championship is effectively theirs.