Friendly: Gilroy sparkles in Ireland defeat.
Barbarians 29 Ireland 28
Ulster’s Craig Gilroy was one of the few Irish players to sparkle in a 28 – 29 defeat to the Barbarians last night in Kingsholm.
The irony of the situation is that Gilroy is one of the few players not already pencilled in for the upcoming tour to New Zealand, and despite, yet again, outplaying Munster counterpart Simon Zebo by some considerable distance it is unlikely that Kidney will have a change of heart and officially include the Ulsterman later today when he announces the final tour squad. However it wouldn’t surprise me if the Dungannon flyer did travel on the quiet to be slotted into the squad at the first sign of a knock to any of the back three.
Gilroy opened the scoring for Ireland with a well taken try, converted by O’Gara to level the scores in the opening quarter following a Balshaw try and Contepomi conversion for the Barbarians and when the Barbarians went back into the lead through an unconverted Van Zyl try it was the Ulster youngster who produced a scintillating burst to set up Keith Earls for Ireland’s second.
However the Barbarians took a five point lead into the break with Sackey catching the Irish defence on the hop form a penalty tap to race away for a try. Contempone converted and the teams turned round with the Barbarians leading 19 – 14.
Zebo went over for Ireland shortly after the break with O’Gara sending the youngster clear and the Munster outhalf converted to give Ireland a two point lead but the lead changed again when Tindall capped a fine display by crashing over for the Barbarians and Contepomi converted to put the Ba Bas back to five in front.
Ireland had a brief glimmer of victory when Gilroy went over for his second try after good work from Earls and with O’Gara converting the took a two point lead into the closing minutes.
Unfortunately a late penalty by Contepomi, which was the only penalty attempt at the posts throughout the game, was enough to put the Barbarians in front for a deserved win.
Barbarians: Cedric Heymans (France); Paul Sackey (England), Mike Tindall (England), Damien Traille (France), Iain Balshaw (England); Felipe Contepomi (Argentina), Rory Lawson (Scotland); Duncan Jones (Wales), Benoit August (France), John Afoa (New Zealand), Mick O’Driscoll (Ireland) (capt), Cornelius van Zyl (Italy), Mamuka Gorgodze (Georgia), Francois Louw (South Africa), Raphael Lakafia (France).
Replacements used: Pelu Taele (Samoa) for van Zyl (24 mins), Aled de Malmanche (New Zealand) for August (half-time), Isa Nacewa (Fiji) for Balshaw, Neemia Tialata (New Zealand) for Jones (both 55), Akapusi Qera (Fiji) for Gorgodze (66), Stephen Donald (New Zealand) for Heymans (68), Richie Rees (Wales) for Lawson (71).
Ireland: Keith Earls (Munster); Craig Gilroy (Ulster), Darren Cave (Ulster), Paddy Wallace (Ulster), Simon Zebo (Munster); Ronan O’Gara (Munster), Conor Murray (Munster); Brett Wilkinson (Connacht), Mike Sherry (Munster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster), Dan Tuohy (Ulster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), John Muldoon (Connacht), Chris Henry (Ulster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster).
Replacements used: Ronan Loughney (Connacht) for Fitzpatrick (58 mins), Donncha O’Callaghan (Munster) for Tuohy, James Coughlan (Munster) for Henry (both 60), Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster) for Wilkinson (70). Andrew Trimble (Ulster) for O’Mahony (71), Paul Marshall (Ulster) for Murray (77), Nevin Spence (Ulster) for Gilroy (78). Not used: Rory Best (Ulster).