IRELAND CLUBS 26 SCOTLAND CLUBS 23 | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Mar  01   2018

The Ireland and Scotland teams served up a highly entertaining Clubs International contest with the home nation edging the decision 26-23 in a thrilling finish at Dubarry Park. There was a decent attendance at the Athlone venue despite the bitterly cold night and little or no promotion in the national media for this fixture. The hardy spectators were well rewarded with a lively and committed affair from start to finish.


Both teams endeavoured to play expansively and had chances before a blistering Ireland counter attack from inside their own 22 saw Harry Brennan racing away along the left flank to off-load to Jake Swaine for a stunning opening try after ten minutes. Neil Cronin duly converted but a brace of Craig Jackson penalties narrowed Scotland’s arrears to the minimum.


The visitors then enjoyed a good spell before the hosts regrouped to force the pace and it took a last ditch tackle by Fraser Thomson to deny his opposite number Swaine a second try following a flowing Ireland move initiated by Jack Dwan and carried on by Daniel McEvoy. Ireland notched their second try when, after Jordan Edmunds made a mess of a long kick ahead, the homesters’ smartly taken resultant lineout caused confusion in the Scots defence and Joe McSwiney charged over for a 36th minute try with Cronin again adding the extras. However, the impressive Thomson weaved his way in for a splendid final move of the half unconverted try, albeit helped by an unpunished blatant block, to narrow Ireland’s half-time advantage to 14-11.


Ireland dominated after the change of ends and Scotland substitute Nick Beavon, on the pitch literally a matter of seconds, was sin-binned after 49 minutes for bringing down a maul. But the hosts were hurried in their endeavours and lacked composure for a period, thus unable to make their temporary numerical advantage pay off. However, a sparkling 67th minute attack that seemed certain to yield a third try was denied by a knock on by a Scotland defender and referee Matthew Turvey, following consultation with a touch judge, awarded a penalty try.


Scotland retorted swiftly and, after some neat interplay, fullback Thomson notched his second try on 70 minutes, again unconverted. The bigger visiting pack then put in a superb maul just two minutes later to earn a penalty try that edged them ahead for the first time 23-21. But spurred on by the crowd Ireland responded with some fine, patient attacking play that led to McEvoy arcing in for a 77th minute try which Swaine was unable to convert. Scotland again unleashed their huge pack in an effort to retrieve the situation in a dramatic conclusion but Ireland, for whom Michael Melia won the Ulster Bank man of the match award, held them out for a narrow but merited 26-23 victory.


So it’s all to play for in two weeks time to decide who is presented with the Dalriada Cup when Ireland may need to beef up their pack a bit and improve their lineout work if they are to deny the Scots the trophy for the third time in a row.


IRELAND CLUBS:- J.Swaine (Terenure College); H.Brennan (Lansdowne), N.Kenneally (Cork Constitution), Matt D’Arcy (Clontarf), D.McEvoy (Lansdowne); J.Gavin (Garryowen), N.Cronin (Garryowen); C.Gleeson (Old Wesley), P.Finlay (Dublin University), C.Skehan (Young Munster); A.Thompson (St. Mary’s College), M.Melia (St. Mary’s College); J.Dwan (Lansdowne), J.McSwiney (Cork Constitution) and M.Noone (Clontarf). Replacements:- E.Rossiter (Old Belvedere), T.O’Reilly (St. Mary’s College), M.Cromie (Banbridge), C.Ruddock (St. Mary’s College), P.Tolofua (Naas), A.Lloyd (Dublin University), M.O’Neill (Terenure College) and E.Mills (Lansdowne).


SCOTLAND CLUBS:- F.Thomson (Melrose); J.Edmunds (Boroughmuir), R.Curle (Stirling County), R.Nelson (Currie), C.Gossman (Ayr); C.Jackson (Melrose), C.Shiel (Currie); S.Muir (Hawick), R.Anderson (Melrose), S.Longwell (Ayr); I.Moody (Melrose), R.McAlpine (Ayr); B.MacPherson (Ayr), J.Turley (Heriots) and P.McCallum (Ayr). Replacements:- M.Liness (Heriots), N.Beavon (Melrose), S.Cessford (Heriots), R.Leishman (Stirling County), R.Drummond (Watsonians), M.McAndrew (Melrose), S.Lyle (Ayr), G.Taylor (Melrose) and S.Bickerstaff (Marr).


Referee:- Matthew Turvey (England).