Sport Hurling

Saturday 16 December 2017

Kelly gives Irish early edge over Scots

Ireland 1-16, Scotland 2-8, Daragh Conchir, Hurling/Shinty International

Ireland manager Joe Dooley was quick to sound a note of caution despite his side's impressive victory in the first Test of this international series in Athy on Saturday.

With the return leg taking place in Inverness next week, there is still plenty to play for thanks to late goals from Gary Innes and Keith McRae that left just five points in it at the final whistle.

"I'm certainly happy with the performance," said Dooley. "We are five points up but it's only half-time. You couldn't fault any of the players. Everybody gave 100pc. The weather was terrible which was a real pity, but in fairness the pitch was in great condition."

Eoin Kelly was the class act, weighing in with five points, while captain Michael Rice, goalscorer Eoin Nolan and Willie Hyland also shone.

Kelly got into his stride quickly and made light of the rules that demand you are not allowed handle the ball. Ireland led by 0-8 to 0-3 at the interval and, with Rice, Joe Bergin and Hyland finding their mark, that margin soon increased. When Nolan goaled in the 52nd minute, the lead was nine points.

But the Scots have always been renowned for their battling qualities and in the final 18 minutes, they tore into their opponents. Niall McPhee provided inspiration by continuing despite a head injury. Innes goaled to restore hopes, and McRae pounced for another with three minutes left.

Scorers -- Ireland: E Kelly 0-5, E Nolan 1-2, J Bergin, W Hyland 0-3 each, E Price 0-2, M Rice 0-1. Scotland: G Innes 1-3, K Bartlett 0-3, K McRae 1-0, J Stewart 0-2.

Ireland -- P Mullaney (Laois); J Bergin (Offaly ),K Divilly (Kildare), C Donnelly (Antrim), J Doran (Kildare), A Graffin (Antrim), W Hyland (Laois), E Kelly (Tipperary), D Kennedy (Kildare), D Maguire (Tyrone), B Maher (Tipperary), S Morley (Mayo), T Murnane (Kerry), B Murtagh (Westmeath), E Nolan (Carlow), A O'Brien (Wicklow), E Price (Westmeath), M Rice (Kilkenny).

Scotland -- S McIntosh, N Campbell, D Irvine, J Barr, R McLeod, N McDonald F McCrae, N McPhee, G Irvine, S Nicholson,S McDonald, G Innes, K McRae, J McDonald, J Stewart, A Corrigan, D Cameron, K Bartlett, G Stobbart.

Ref -- T Carroll (Offaly)

Irish Independent

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