Ireland’s Under-20 side were edged out 17-15 by their Welsh counterparts in their Six Nation opener in Colwyn Bay on Friday night.
The profligate Sam Davies missed three penalties for the hosts in the opening 12 minutes, before finally bisecting the posts to open the scoring.
However, Ireland responded in emphatic fashion as scrum-half Luke McGrath crossed the whitewash, with Tom Daly adding the conversion to give Ireland an unlikely 7-3 advantage after 20 minutes.
Davies wasted another penalty as Mike Ruddock’s charges maintained their four-point advantage at the interval.
Wales reduced the visitors advantage to just a single point after the restart as Davies struck with a penalty after 45 minutes and the sin-binning of Ireland’s Chris Taylor accelerated the shift in momentum.
Dion Jones grabbed Wales first try of the night, while the hitherto wasteful Davies added the conversion and another penalty to build up a 14-7 lead.
Nicky Thomas ill-discipline saw him sent to the sin-bin, while Taylor returned to the fray, signalling a change in Ireland’s fortunes.
Daly grabbed the second Irish try of the night, but his missed conversion was to prove costly.
Davies and Daly went on to register a penalty each, but staunch defending from Wales in the closing stages saw them hold on for the win.
Ireland entertain England in Athlone next Friday, while Wales will face France.