Ireland 22 France 12
|Date:||Saturday 18th October 2014|
|Competition:||RLEF European Championships - European Championships|
|Referee:||To be confirmed|
Ireland secured an historic 22-16 victory over France in their opening Rugby League European Championship fixture in Tallaght Stadium yesterday.
A crowd of 1,500 watched as debutant Shannon McDonnell scored a brace of tries to give the Wolfhounds their first ever win over the French side.
With a strong wind at their backs in the first half Ireland set their stall out early when they found themselves camped inside the French twenty metre line for the opening five minutes. During that period they managed to force two goal line drop outs in quick succession.
While France’s defence was holding strong they could not withstand the continuous onslaught and it was McDonnell who grabbed the opening try on his long await debut for the Wolfhounds.
Ireland were using the conditions to their advantage and captain Bob Beswick kicked well from dummy half to put his side into prime field position.
Second Row Josh Toole was causing problems for the French defence and on twenty five minutes he made a break through their line but a knock on followed which relieved the pressure.
Six minutes later Ireland doubled their lead when a kick through from Callum Casey was chased well by Haydn Peacock who touched down to score a try on his debut.
The score remained at 8-0 at half time with Ireland coping with the high winds much better than the French side who would be looking for a vast improvement on their first half showing.
The Wolfhounds got the second half off in stunning fashion when on forty six minutes Toole made another clean break through the line and some fantastic passing put McDonnell in for his second of the game.
At this point Ireland appeared to be cruising to a victory as the visitors tried to fix their defensive errors. Six minutes after the third try Ireland had a fourth when a pinpoint kick through from Beswick was touched down by Peacock to extend the Wolfhounds Lead even further.
However, France responded to the fourth try well when Kevin Larroyer finished off his side’s first try to make the score 16-6 after Marginet added the conversion.
Following this try France began to get into a rhythm and were making much more yards from their sets than in the first half.
They were rewarded for their hard work on seventy minutes when Eloi Pelissier outpaced the Irish backs to bring his side to within a score of the hosts.
This set up a nervous finish for Mark Aston’s men as they looked to hold out the French side and cling on for a fantastic win.
And with the old saying that attack is the best form of defence Ireland secured the win when Jobe Murphy touched down to give the hosts a 20-12 lead. Casey Dunne added the conversion to make the game 22-12 at the full time hooter.
Speaking after the game Mark Aston hailed his sides result as “Massive, probably one of the biggest in the history of Irish rugby league.”
He also expressed his pride in his players saying; “The win was based around attitude, commitment and heart - Ireland’s call - there were heroes everywhere, I couldn’t be prouder of them, it is one of my all-time favourite victories.”
Ireland will now host Scotland next Saturday in Tallaght Stadium with both sides looking to build on their victories in the first round of the tournament.
1 Shannon McDonnell
2 Callum Mulkeen
3 Haydn Peacock
4 Michael Platt
5 Casey Dunne
6 Callum Casey
7 Ben Johnston
8 Robbie Mulhern
9 Bob Beswick
10 Luke Ambler
11 Elliot Cosgrove
12 Josh Toole
13 Will Hope
14 Jobe Murphy
15 Sean Hesketh
16 Wayne Kelly
17 Matty Hadden
Tries: McDonnell (7,46 ), Peacock (31,53), Murphy (79)
Goals: Dunne 1/5
1 Tony Maurel
2 Mathias Pala
3 Jean-Phillipe Baile
4 Damian Cardace
5 Frederic Vaccari
6 Theo Fages
7 William Barthau
8 Jamal Fakir
9 Eloi Pelissier
10 Gael Simon
11 Kevin Larroyer
12 Benjamin Garcia
13 Jason Baitieri
14 Remy Marginet
15 Aaron Wood
16 Julian Bousquet
17 Antoni Maria
Tries: Larroyer (58), Pelissier (70)
Goals: Marginet 2/2
Teams and Scoring