Hurling/Shinty International Series Second Test: Ireland 2-18 (24) Scotland 0-8 (8).
Ireland win series 38-31 on aggregate.
Ireland secured their sixth successive victory in the Hurling/Shinty International Series with a commanding 16-point victory over Scotland at Páirc Esler in Newry.
Ireland trailed by nine points after last Saturday’s first Test, but Michael Walshe’s side produced a superb second half performance to overturn that deficit, with Westmeath’s Eoin Price scoring goals in each half to wrap up victory.
Man-of-the-match Price hit a stunning 2-5 and displayed the full range of his mesmerising skills, while Cork’s Conor Lehane also hit seven points from play, as the hosts’ superior skill levels were in evidence, particularly in a very enjoyable second half.
Kevin Bartlett, the star of the first Test, scored all of Scotland’s eight points from placed balls. The Lovat man opened the scoring for the Scots after nine minutes with a two-pointer.
Clare’s David McInerney finally got Ireland off the mark on 12 minutes after the Irish struck four successive wides.
Ireland did eventually work their way into the game and Westmeath man Price lit up the first half with two wonderful scores from play, showing great pace and skill to send over a brace of one-pointers.
Price then struck the only goal of the first half on 38 minutes, latching on to Lehane’s pass to drive a ground stroke to the back of the net from an acute angle.
It was a timely goal for the Irish, who led by 1-6 to 0-4 at the break and had put a dent in the nine-point deficit from the first Test, which they lost by 3-14 to 2-8 in Inverness last week.
Bartlett landed his third placed ball for the Scots, but Conor McCann and Price responded to restore the home side’s five-point lead. Bartlett had a great goal chance midway through the second half, but he failed to make a true contact with the ball and Laois man Eoin Reilly saved easily.
Johnny McCusker had a goal disallowed for a Scottish foul just before he struck a fierce shot to the back of the net, but Lehane slotted the ensuing free over the bar for two points.
Tipperary’s All Star centre-forward Patrick Maher then had a shot well saved after a superb run, but Price was on hand again to pick up the loose ball and snap a shot over the bar after more beguiling stickwork to level the series on aggregate after 63 minutes.
However, Bartlett then struck his fourth two-pointer of the game, as Ireland squandered further goal chances, ‘Bonner’ Maher and Lehane shooting just wide of the Scots’ goal.
Eventually, the all-important goal came in the 73rd minute, with the Scottish defence finally opening up after ‘Bonner’ Maher’s hard work created the chance for Price, who capped an incredible performance with his second goal of the game. Lehane
Scotland won the U21 International, which served as a curtain-raiser, by 4-9 to 0-7.
Scorers for Ireland: E Price 2-5, C Lehane 0-7, David McInerney 0-2, J McCusker 0-2, C McCann 0-1, L McLoughlin 0-1.
Scorers for Scotland: K Bartlett 0-8.
Ireland Squad: Eoin Reilly (Laois), Mickey Burke (Meath), Paul Dermody (Kildare), Paul Divilly (Kildare), John Egan (Kerry), David English (Carlow), Lorcán McLoughlin (Cork), Conor Lehane (Cork), Patrick Maher (Tipperary), Conor McCann (Antrim), Neal McCauley (Antrim), Johnny McCusker (Down), David McInerney (Clare), Brian Murphy (Kerry), Shane Nolan (Kerry), Darragh O’Connell (Kerry), Eoin Price (Westmeath), Matthew Whelan (Laois), David Kettle (Louth).
Scotland Squad: John Barr, Kevin Bartlett, Conor Cormack, Callum Cruden, Gary Innes, Grant Irvine, Paul MacArthur, John MacDonald, Roddy MacDonald, Steven McDonald, Stuart MacDonald, Lorne Mackay, Fraser Mackntosh, Finlay Macrae, John Macrae, Callum Miller, Steven Morrisson, Louis Munro, Shaun Nicolson.
Referee: Christy Browne (Gaillimh)
Report: Brian Murphy