With no A league running this season Saints have been deprived of the Wanderers as a window into the future so the Premiership Cup is a timely insight into developing talent.
While some of the big names are away for internationals Saints hauled players back from Bedford and put together a team bristling with young talent for the visit of Irish.
A busy first half saw Irish accumulate a 19 point lead over Saints one converted try but the feel of the game was much more even than the scoreline suggested.
The second half saw Saints get more back for their efforts in terms of points with the youthful nature of the contest serving up a spectacle full of brilliance and errors.
The stand out moment for the home side was probably Tom Litchfield’s burst of pace that left two Irish defenders grabbing for air as he crossed the whitewash.
In a sense Saints were righting a wrong from the derby and where they had previously failed to take full advantage of yellow cards against Leicester to get back in the game, here they were profiting from the absence of Benhard von Rensburg to get back on terms.
However once von Rensburg returned he found a way through to the line again and his converted try plus another penalty gave the final score a gloss for the Exiles that did not tell the whole story.