Wednesday 21 March 2018

Maher goal seals series for Ireland

Scotland 1-11, Ireland 2-9, (Ireland win series 3-25 to 3-19 on agg)

Coilin Duffy, Senior Shinty/Hurling

Brendan Maher was Ireland's hero as his 75th-minute goal ensured Ireland took the honours in Inverness on Saturday.

Scotland started strongly and led by 1-6 to 0-0 after 33 minutes, but an excellent second-half showing by the visitors -- who won the first game 1-16 to 2-8 in Athy last week -- backed up with Maher's late goal, secured the series.

The Scots were determined not to let down the large home support in the 1,500-strong attendance and quickly built up a head of steam.

Kevin Bartlett was in stirring form, with four two-pointers for ground strikes from placed balls in the opening half.

Bartlett opened the scoring with a two-pointer from a free after 45 seconds, with former Shinty Player of the Year Finlay MacRae netting a seventh-minute goal.

Bartlett continued to punish Ireland from placed balls as two further two-pointers pushed Scotland to a nine-point lead in the 33rd minute.

Indeed Scotland should have been further ahead at this stage, but Somhairle MacDonald's 24th-minute goal was disallowed because he kicked the ball to the net.

Ireland were forced to defend hard as the hosts continued to pile on pressure, but they bounced back through the efforts of Laois's Willie Hyland and Carlow's Craig Doyle, with a goal from Offaly's Joe Bergin cutting the deficit to six points at the break.

Hyland, captain Michael Rice and Tipperary star Maher impressed on the restart, with Scotland under huge pressure.

Scotland led by 1-11 to 1-7 with 25 minutes remaining following a Gary Innes point, but the Highlanders would fail to score for the remainder of this game.

Rice and Hyland added points before Maher's late goal after a long-range free was sent to the back of the Scotland net past Gavin Stobbart to ensure Irish joy, with Rice hoisting the trophy afterwards.

Scorers -- Scotland: K Barlett 0-10 (3f, 1 s-l), F MacRae 1-0, G Innes 0-1. Ireland: W Hyland 0-6 (4f), J Bergin, B Maher 1-0 each, M Rice 0-2, C Doyle 0-1.

SCOTLAND -- S Mackintosh; N MacDonald, N Campbell, J Barr; I MacDonald, F MacRae, D Cameron; S Nicholson, J MacDonald, G Innes; K MacRae, K Bartlett; J Stewart, R MacDonald. Interchange subs: M Sproule, R MacLeod, S McDonald, A Corrigan, G Stobbart.

IRELAND -- P Dermody; D Kennedy, A Graffin, C Donnelly; J Doran, B Maher, K Divilly; E Nolan, E Price; R Hanniffy, M Rice, W Hyland; B Murtagh, J Bergin. Interchange subs: C Doyle, D Maguire, T Murnane, C Doyle.

REF -- David Mitchell (Scotland)

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport