Ireland boss Roy McCune saluted the ‘battling qualities’ of his young squad in the 2013 Under-25 Home International Series at Newport.
The Irish returned home without a victory from the two-day event, but following a rocky start against a well-drilled England outfit, McCune’s charges displayed great character in their two remaining matches, losing out narrowly to Wales and Scotland.
“I said before the tournament it’s a learning curve – and they will have gained an enormous amount of experience from the competition,” said McCune.
“We consumed a heavey defeat by England in the opening match, beaten by 50-odd shots, but they are an outstanding team.
“In circumstances like that, other sides could have crumbled in the two remaining matches, but the boys showed great character and passion.”
England went on to retain the Joyce Brimble Trophy, finishing the Series with an unblemished record, but McCune was far from despondent.
“We always knew we were up against it – many of those England players perform at senior level,” he added. “Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, the lads displayed passion and commitment in the second game against Wales, losing out by a mere eight shots.
“Andy Duncan produced a fantastic performance, skipping his rink to 30-11 victory against Ross Owen. Simon Colvin also nicked a win against Damian Doubler.”
McCune added: “The team continued that level of performance in the final game against Scotland. Only 13 shots separated the teams at the finish.
“It is a very young side – the least experienced of the Home Nations and are all of them are eligible for next season’s Series. Jamie Watson, Jamie Brown, Reece Millar and Stephen Coleman junior have all progresses from the Under-18s, while the new boys, George Carson, Terry Crawford and Robert Kirkwood all gave a good account of themselves.”
Round one: Ireland 55 England 107 (A Duncan 14 P Martin 22; A Coleman 18 W Willgrass 30; G Kelly 10 S Tolchard 31; S Colvin 13 J Walker 24).
Wales 63 Scotland 82 (R Owen 13 C Logan 22; M Thomas 11 C Taggart 22; P Taylor 21 B Irvine 20; D Doubler 18 C Stein 18).
Round two: Wales 84 Ireland 76 (P Taylor 22 A Coleman 14; M Thomas 30 G Kelly 10; D Doubler 21 S Colvin 22; R Owen 11 A Duncan 30).
England 82 Scotland 62 (W Willgress 20 C Stein 13; J Walker 23 C Logan 10; P Martin 23 C Taggart 15; S Tolchard 16 B Irvine 24).
Round three: Scotland 89 Ireland 76 (C Taggart 30 G Kelly 14; B Irvine 25 S Colvin 20; C Logan 23 A Duncan 18; C Stein 11 A Coleman 24).
Wales 70 England 71 (D Doubler 12 S Tolchard 20; R Owen 26 W Willgrass 10; M Thomas 15 J Walker 20; P Taylor 17 P Martin 21).
Final positions: 1 England 6pts; 2 Scotland 4pts; 3 Wales 2pts; 4 Ireland 0pts.