Grugan's hat-trick too much for Scotland
U21 Shinty/Hurling: Scotland 1-5 Ireland 5-2
Tyrone's Conor Grugan was Ireland's hat-trick hero as Ireland overcame their Scottish rivals in ideal conditions at Bught Park, Inverness on Saturday.
The Carrickmore clubman was a constant thorn in the side of the hosts, with Ireland leading from the 29th minute until the end, following a point from Leitrim's Morgan Quinn.
This game was a tight affair in the opening stages, and despite Christy Ring Cup 'Player of the Year' Shane Nolan netting an eighth-minute goal to ensure a 1-2 to 0-1 lead, a Ryan Borthwick reply for Scotland tied the game after 18 minutes.
Grugan bagged his first goal to ensure a 2-2 to 1-3 interval lead for Ireland and added a third for the visitors inside 10 minutes of the restart to take a five-point lead.
Ireland never looked back after this, with further goals from Westmeath's Barry O'Mara and Grugan in the 58th and 63rd minutes respectively, giving them a 5-2 to 1-3 lead.
Scotland's lone score in the second half came with 10 minutes remaining, when their captain John MacRae claimed a two-pointer.
However, it was too little, too late for the hosts as Kerry's Darragh O'Connell lifted the silverware at the finish.
Scorers -- Ireland: C Grugan 3-0, S Nolan, B O'Mara 1-0 each, J Coyne, D O'Connell 0-1 each. Scotland: R Borthwick 1-0; J MacRae 0-2; C Cormack, D Maclean, C Cruden 0-1 each.
IRELAND -- E Reilly; B Murphy, J Leahy; D English, J Gilligan, D Hannon; M Quinn, M Purcell, E O'Neill; O Walsh, D O'Connell, K Murphy; J Coyne, S Nolan. Interchange subs: M Armstrong, C Grugan, A McGrath, B O'Mara.
SCOTLAND -- P Mackey; C Millar, S Stewart; M MacDonald, D Grieve, D Howie; I Nicolson, C Cormack, T Borthwick; L MacDonald, L Reid, N Reid; L Cameron, R Borthwick; J MacRae, A Ferguson, C Cruden, J MacPherson, D MacLean.
REF -- T Carroll (Offaly)