Walsh hails Ireland's stubborn streak
Ireland 1-15 Scotland 0-14
Ireland manager Michael Walsh paid tribute to the strength of his side's defence in testing weather conditions at Bught Park, Inverness on Saturday.
Boosted by Kilkenny duo Jackie Tyrrell and Richie Hogan, the visitors stood firm against a Scottish onslaught in the second half, holding the hosts to just one point in the closing 30 minutes.
Scotland led by 0-11 to 0-10 at half-time, with Kevin Bartlett scoring five two-pointers and a Glen McKintosh point leaving Drew McNeill's charges ahead by the minimum at the break.
Ireland kept in touch thanks to the efforts of their captain Neil McManus, Cahir Healy of Laois, Kerry's Darragh O'Connell and Gareth 'Magic' Johnson from Down. Patrick 'Bonner' Maher found the net eight minutes after the restart, and although Scotland drew level, five unanswered points provided the platform for an Irish win.
Laois goalkeeper Eoin Reilly was impressive throughout, and Walsh felt his display, coupled with Maher scoring the only goal of the tie in the 48th minute, was crucial.
"The weather was tough so goals were going to be at a premium," he said. "But I was delighted that we again created that bit of space in the second half and that 'Bonner' Maher got in for a fantastic goal.
"I think that was the crucial score. All our players gave everything, but our defence has been magnificent. Eoin is a very, very good goalkeeper.
"I'm just so proud of the way we performed, particularly in that second half. Scotland were maybe getting a bit on top, but we fought and fought and we got great work rate."
Scorers – Ireland: N McManus 0-7, R Hogan 0-4, P Maher 1-0, G Johnson 0-2, D O'Connell, C Healy 0-1 each. Scotland: K Bartlett 0-12, G MacKintosh, C Cormack 0-1 each.
IRELAND – E Reilly, A Graffin, J Tyrrell, B Maher, D English, C Woods, D O'Connell, E Price, C Healy, P Divilly, G Johnson, P Maher, R Hogan, N McManus. Interchange subs: D Cullen, J Kavanagh, K McKiernan, D McNicholas, N MacAuley.
SCOTLAND – Stuart MacDonald, N Campbell, D Irvine, J Barr, D Cameron, Steven MacDonald, J Hutchinson, S Nicolson, F MacRae, C Cormack, F MacKintosh, G MacKintosh, K Bartlett, L MacDonald. Interchange subs: C Cruden, L Bain, K MacRae, J MacRae, S MacKintosh.
REF – D Cameron