O’Connell leads Ireland Under 20s to famous win over France

Ireland Under-20s captain Evan O'Connell. Photo: Ben McShane.

EVAN O’Connell (UL Bohemian) captained Ireland Under 20s to a memorable 37-31 victory over France in the opening round of the Six Nations Championship in Provence at the weekend.

First-half tries from Danny Sheahan and Brian Gleeson (Garryowen) put Richie Murphy’s side ahead at the break, before Hugh Gavin and Finn Treacy touched down in the second-half to secure the victory.

On his selection as captain, O’Connell relayed to irishrugby.ie that it was naturally a proud moment for both himself and his family, including father Justin, a former All-Ireland League performer.

O’Connell revealed: “They were ecstatic. My dad was actually in America with work and I couldn’t get through to him. He eventually rang me back and didn’t know what was going on! I told him and he was over the moon for me,” he explained.

Queried on what sort of captain he is, O’Connell replied: “I’d like to think I’d be very approachable as a captain and a fella who you can lean on. I wouldn’t have learned that without those experiences before.

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“I’m able to express myself if I am happy or not happy with something. Just being able to manage and deal with players. I feel like I can motivate my players and motivate them by playing well as well.”

Luke Murphy of Shannon was a squad member.