Tuesday 24 April 2018

Battling Irish pack a mighty punch

Scotland 30 Ireland 32

Ireland broke the mould in their series with Scotland at Club International level by claiming an away victory at Netherdale last night that owed everything to a powerful performance by their pack.

The visitors adopted a pick-and-drive tactic and against the lighter Scottish forwards it paid dividends, as all four of their tries were taken from close range.

Scotland began well and looked likely winners when they led 20-8 at the break, having shot ahead with barely a minute of the game gone thanks to a try by their centre Ross Curle from a charge-down off out-half Barry Keeshan's attempted clearance.

Scotland, in the ascendancy in the first half, claimed another try through Curle. And with both tries converted and two penalties by out-half Scott Wight to one by Keeshan, the home side led 20-3.

However, Ireland lock Simon Crawford landed a crucial try just before the break.

The momentum was then with Ireland in the second half as the forwards took control of the game.

Tries from No 8 Frank Cogan and then a second for Crawford -- both converted by Keeshan -- got them back into it.

The hosts then conceded a penalty and it resulted in a strong effort in the driving maul which gave Ger Slattery a try, and Keeshan converted. Scotland did bag a late try but it was a mere consolation.

SCOTLAND --T Brown; F Thomson, R Curle, D Kelbrick, D Fife; S Wight, R Sneddon; G Reid, E Milligan (F Gillies 50); B McNeil (A Dymock 54), D Kelly; R McKay (N Campbell 60), J Dalziel, R Colhoun, R Weston, A Dunlop.

IRELAND -- J O'Brien; J Cleary, E Moloney, E Ryan, D Mongan; B Keeshan, M D'Arcy (G Hurley 48); J Ryan, R Sweeney (G Slattery 70), C Condon; P Donnellan (L Murphy 62), S Crawford; H Hogan (D Hall 62), B O'Mahoney, F Cogan.

Ref -- S Penne (Italy).

Irish Independent

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