A SCINTILLATING second-half display helped London Irish roar into the semi finals of the British & Irish Cup with a resounding 37-14 destruction of Yorkshire Carnegie this afternoon.

And it was a dream first start at fly half for Jacob Atkins, the 19-year-old taking man-of-the-match honours with a performance of real authority.

It was his penalty after 10 minutes which put Exiles in front, and they moved further ahead shortly afterwards when a powerful rolling maul could not be stopped by Carnegie, captain Luke Narraway dotting down. Atkins’ conversion made it 10-0.

Yorkshire hit back, however, with Steve McColl scything through the hosts’ defence before finding flanker Josh Bainbridge who went over. Warren Seals added the extras to cut the gap to three.

Another Atkins penalty pushed his side into a 13-7 lead at the break, with the opening 40 minutes proving an entertaining affair on a glorious afternoon at Madejski Stadium.

The third quarter was somewhat scrappy, but Irish clicked into gear with a match-defining two-try burst in four minutes around the hour mark.

Firstly, Ross Neal showed his speed and power to burst through on the right-hand side, and then the returning Jebb Sinclair – coming off the bench – went over after Irish kicked to the corner rather than having a shot at goal. Although the maul was brought down, Canadian international Sincalir was able to burrow over.

Irish’s all-time leading tryscorer Topsy Ojo added to his tally by going over for the hosts’ fourth score shortly after, with Atkins’ conversion pushing his side 32-7 in front.

ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads McColl grabbed a consolation for the away side when he was quickest to a kick over the top, but Irish had the final say when Matt Williams showed tremendous footwork to collect a bobbling ball and scoot over on the right-hand touchline.

All in all this was a fine performance from Irish, with their youngsters – and Atkins in particular – showing outstanding nerve and form.

London Irish return to Championship action with their St Patrick’s Day Party at home to Cornish Pirates on Saturday (2pm).