13 Jun 2017
An Ireland side featuring five UCD players brushed aside the USA Eagles on Saturday, scoring nine tries in an emphatic 55 – 19 victory.
UCD man James Ryan joined Jacob Stockdale in marking his debut with a try and the youthful Ireland team also registered scores through Niall Scannell, Kieran Marmion, Jack Conan, Luke McGrath and Simon Zebo, with Keith Earls bagging a first half double. Nick Civetta got the hosts off the mark before second half tries from John Quill and Ryan Matyas gave the scoreline a slightly more respectable look.
The USA Eagles had never managed to beat the Irish in 8 attempts and any expectations the home fans may have had of it being a historical day were tempered early on when Keith Earls crossed after just 4 minutes. Joey Carbery couldn’t add the conversion but the tone was already set. 10 minutes later Jacob Stockdale, one of five Irish debutants, increased the lead. UCD's Garry Ringrose added a remarkable touchline conversion. Earls then grabbed his second with a neat finish in the corner after good build up play from Tiernan O’Halloran. The Eagles finally gave the New Jersey fans something to cheer about in the 21st minute when second row Nick Civetta scored after he charged down an attempted Carbery kick. Former Connacht fly-half AJ McGinty added the extra two points.
Normal service was resumed shortly afterwards however, with Niall Scannell darting over at the back of a strong rolling maul after Ireland turned down a kickable penalty to put the ball into the corner. Keith Earls almost secured a first half hat-trick only to be stopped just short of the line by some desperate USA defending. His offload found Kieran Marmion who evaded the scrambling Eagles defence to touchdown. Carbery converted, leaving the score at half time USA 7 – 29 Ireland.
Ireland picked up right where they had left off in the second half with marauding back row Jack Conan crossing the whitewash after a strong Irish scrum had splintered the US pack. Despite the unfavourable scoreline the home team were not down and out and hit back with a couple of tries, the first being very similar to Civetta's earlier score. Once again Carbery's kick was charged down, this time with number eight John Quill being the beneficiary. McGinty again converted. Eagles centre Ryan Matyas was next on the scoresheet, adding a well-deserved third for the hosts following a sustained period of pressure.
Ireland struck back with Earls again terrorising a tiring US defence before giving an inside pass to UCDs 20 year old lock James Ryan, who ran in untouched from 20 meters to score with his first touch of the ball in international rugby, only one minute after coming onto the pitch. Substitutes Luke McGrath and Simon Zebo added late scores to wrap up the comprehensive victory for Joe Schmidt’s side, who now go on to a two test series against Japan looking to build on this performance.
Highlights of the game can be viewed below