Angus Kernohan praised the determination of his Ireland Under-20s side as they completed a Six Nations Grand Slam with a battling 26-17 win over Wales.
With the hosts up thanks to an early try from Aneurin Owen, winger Kernohan led a slaloming break against the run of play, which set up Jonathan Wren to cross.
Dylan Tierney-Martin’s try after the break was cancelled out by Jac Morgan’s score as the sides traded blows – but Colm Reilly and Thomas Clarkson secured a famous Irish win.
And Kernohan was delighted with the common conviction shared throughout the squad, saying: “I’m speechless, to be honest.
“We didn’t make it easy for ourselves but we have been a team – right throughout the Championship – that has dug in and found a way to win.
“I think that’s an important thing behind great teams. We have real unity in the team and that common goal of putting teams to the sword.
“We did that in the end and it just shows with Colm [Reilly] coming on at the end and scoring. Your replacement scrum-half making such a big impact shows how much we trust our squad and rely on those guys.
“I’m completely elated. It was a brilliant win.”
The Ulster player started the last three games of the Championship as he helped Ireland complete a convincing sweep.
And despite playing for his club’s senior side, the youngster was equally delighted to be in Ireland’s Under-20s outfit.
“It is a different kettle of fish [than playing for Ulster] but it is something that is really nice to play with guys your own age,” he said.
“When you pull on that green jersey, it’s very special. Being able to come out here and getting the ball a bit more and in more space; it’s nice to be able to attack.
“The Under-20s is a very important pathway. It’s just brilliant.”
Head coach Noel McNamara, meanwhile, praised the resolve of his young side despite an error-strewn first-half, saying: “It’s difficult to sum up, to be honest about it.
“You have to say, the resolve they showed at the end; I think Colm and Jake [Flannery] deserve particular praise for how they went at nine and 10. They really upped the tempo of the game for us.
“I think it is a testament to how they train, the resolve within the group, sticking to their process and believing.
“There was never a second in that game that they didn’t believe they were going to win.”