Wednesday 21 February 2018

Keenan shines as Ireland leave it late

Ireland 2-10 Scotland 2-8 Newsdesk Newsdesk

Ireland struck late to break a second-half scoring drought and win Saturday's Shinty/Hurling international at Croke Park.

Having gone almost half an hour without a score, they flashed over two points to win a tight contest. A surreal second period, dominated by defensive plays, bore little resemblance to a high-scoring first.

Jeffrey Lynskey's side conceded just one score after the break to an increasingly frustrated opponent.

Similarly challenged when it came to finding the target, Ireland looked destined to settle for a draw, until Shane Nolan and Eoin Price came up with the late points.

Goalkeeper Eoin Kelly will not be seeking footage of Scotland's opening goal, netted by Fraser Heath after he failed to deal with Steven McDonald's long punt in the seventh minute.

But the visitors were relying on sporadic attacks, while Ireland pressed strongly, led by David McInerney.

Zane Keenan of Laois sparkled as the game's outstanding attacker and the one man with total grasp of the hybrid game.

The home side tightened their grip with a Patrick Bonner Maher goal in the 28th minute, as he wrong-footed a couple of defenders with neat stick-work to finish clinically to the net.

But Scotland were level again four minutes later when Kevin Bartlett sent a rocket to the net after the Irish defence failed to clear McDonald's '65.

Ireland took a one point lead into the interval, 2-7 to 2-6, after Keenan's effort from distance went straight to the past Stuart Mackintosh.

Derek McNicholas edged the Irish further ahead, but another Bartlett two-pointer had the sides level.

And it remained deadlocked on 2-8 each for 25 minutes, until Nolan and Price struck late for a home win.

SCORERS - Ireland: Z Keenan 1-5, P Maher 1-0, E Price 0-2, N Macauley, D McNicholas, S Nolan 0-1 each. Scotland: K Bartlett 1-6, F Heath 1-0, S McDonald 0-2.

Ireland - E Reilly, B Murphy, J Toher, M Burke, M Whelean, D Healy, D McNicholas, D McInerney, N McAuley, Z Keenan, P Maher, E Price, TJ Reid, S Nolan. Subs: P Kelly, P Divilly, B Deay, N O Muineachain.

Scotland - S Mackintosh, F Macrae, C Millar, S McDonald, R Kennedy, L Bain, D Cameron, J Barr, C Cormack, K Bartlett, R MacDonald, K Mackintosh, G Mackintosh, F Heath. Subs: G Irvine, Z Ferguson, P Macarthur, N Reid.

Ref - S Cleere (Kilkenny)

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