RUGBY LEAGUE: Ireland ‘A’ Secure Inaugural Celtic Nations Championship!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Gareth Gill*, Nick Finlay, Matthew Hadden (Ballynahinch Rabbitohs) Curtis Stewart*, Matthew Cahoon*, Wayne Kelly (Belfast Met Scholars)

Ireland ‘A’ Secure Inaugural Celtic Nations Championship

A 28-22 victory for Ireland ‘A’ against Wales in Colwyn Bay secured the Wolfhounds their first Celtic Nations Championships.

Going into the game the Wolfhounds knew that they didn’t necessarily have to win the fixture to secure the title but losing the game was never on the mind of Ged Corcoran’s who wanted to make it a clean sweep on the way to their first championship win.

It was Wales who got off to the better start when centre, Bradley Hill gave his side a third minute lead with Paul Emanuelli converting before Brad Hargreaves unconverted opener for Ireland brought the score back to 6-4.

An Aled Davies try in the corner on 21 minutes extended Wales lead to 10-4 but the hosts would only hold that advantage for a further nine minutes.

Mikey Russell was next over for Ireland with Curtis Stewart following suit two minutes before the break. Casey Dunne converted both to give the Wolfhounds a 16-10 lead at the break.

Mark Kenny’s unconverted effort on 53 minutes extended the lead further before Gareth Gill scored in the first set after kick off to put the game out of Wales reach. Dunne converted to make the score 26-10.

Then came Wales comeback. A strong run and try from Geraint Clarke on 65 minutes was immediately followed by John Ketland scoring in the corner after an excellent team passing move.

Emanuelli converted both and Wales were just four points down and while the title looked out of reach, a win wasn’t beyond them.

But the Irish defence stood firm and despite the passionate Welsh crowd cheering their team on, it was the newly crowned champions who had the final say as Dunne added a penalty just before the hooter to launch the celebrations.

5 Lee Goddard
14 John Ketland
4 Mike Hurley
3 Daryl Carter
19 Aled Davies
7 Callum Bennett
18 Paul Emmaunelli
16 Geraint Clarke
9 Ryan Bates
10 Scott Britton
11 Bradley Hill
12 Chris True
13 Gareth Way

Subs (all used):

6 Rob Andrews
8 Lee Harben Jones
20 Nathan Hawkins
17 Anthony Tilley

Tries: Hill (3), Davies (21), Clarke (65), Ketland (68)
Goals: Emanuelli 3/4

1 Casey Dunne
2 Columba Kelly
3 Callum Mulkeen
4 Brad Hargreaves
5 Mark Kenny
6 Nick Finlay
7 Adam Cox
8 Gareth Gill
9 Mikey Russell
10 Matty Hadden
11 Matty Cahoon
12 Chris Hall
13 Wayne Kelly

Subs (all used):
14 Matt Bailey
15 Sean Rees
16 Curtis Stewart
17. Andrew Keating

Tries: Hargreaves (14), Russell (30), Stewart (38), Kenny (53), Gill (57)
Goals: Dunne 4/6

Half-time: 10-16
Referee: Liam Moore
Attendance: 250
Match Report Courtesy of Wales Rugby League

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