Hurling/Shinty International Series Second Test: Ireland 8-11 (51) Scotland 4-3 (23)
Ireland claimed the Hurling/Shinty International Series for the fourth year running with a comfortable second Test win over Scotland at Cusack Park, Ennis on Saturday.
Ireland did all the damage in a devastating 13-minute first half spell when they scored five goals without reply, including a hat-trick from Offaly’s Shane Dooley.
Having conceded two late goals to allow Scotland snatch a losing bonus point in the first Test in Inverness last Saturday, John Meyler and Michael Walsh’s charges were in a far less generous mood this time around.
Although the scoreline suggests there was a vast gulf between the sides, just like last week, the Scots missed a series of goal chances over the course of the 80 minutes, while Ireland goalkeeper Bernard Rochford was once again in superb form between the posts for the home side.
The game opened with a bang, Kevin Bartlett giving the Scots the lead in the first minute with a point from play, before Shaun Nicolson forced a super save from Ireland goalkeeper Rochford, who had a fine first half.
Séamus Callanan, who replaced Patrick Horgan in the squad this week, opened Ireland’s account, while Rochford was again forced into action, this time to deny John Stewart with another good block.
After an even first seven minutes, Ireland took complete control of the game when they hit a remarkable purple patch, netting five goals without reply in a 13-minute spell.
Patrick Maher started the goal-rush in the seventh minute, before Shane Dooley grabbed the first of his three goals. Brendan Murtagh then got in on the act and Dooley completed his hat-trick in the 20th minute, pouncing on John Barr’s mistake.
Scotland’s two inside forwards, Stewart and Finlay MacRae, caused plenty of problems for the Irish defence but Cork native Rochford was brave and alert in the goal and continually frustrated the Scots with a series of fine saves.
The visitors had a chance to pull a goal back from the penalty spot on 35 minutes when Finlay MacRae was fouled, but Bartlett’s shot was brilliantly saved by Tommy Walsh on the line. Bartlett popped the rebound over the bar, while Finlay MacRae finally hit the back of the Irish net in the 37th minute direct from a free.
Callanan, though, finished the half strongly and hit four points from play in the final three minutes to leave the home side 5-6 (31) to 1-2 (7) ahead at the break.
The Scots’ hopes of staging a comeback were dented when Barry McFall struck Ireland’s sixth goal four minutes into the second half.
The always dangerous Bartlett pulled two goals back for the visitors, but it wasn’t long before Ireland restored their big lead, with Westmeath’s Murtagh firing his second of the game and Callanan also finding the net on 67 minutes.
The final say who went to the Scots, who took the lop-sided look off the scoreline a little in added time when Kevin MacRae pulled a goal back.
Ireland Scorers: S Dooley 3-1 (16), B Murtagh 2-4 (14), S Callanan 1-4 (9), B McFall 1-1 (6), P Maher 1-0 (5).
Scotland Scorers: Kevin Bartlett 2-2 (12), K MacRae 2-1 (6), F MacRae 1-0 (5),
Ireland: Bernard Rochford (Kerry), Joseph Clarke (Westmeath), Ciarán Clifford (Armagh), Steven Clynch (Meath), Shane Dooley (Offaly), Cormac Donnelly (Antrim), Shane Fennell (Louth), Séamus Callanan (Tipperary), Neil McManus (Antrim), Barry McFall (Antrim), Tom Murnane (Kerry), Brendan Murtagh (Westmeath), Darragh O’Connell (Kerry), Patrick Maher (Tipperary), Eoin Price (captain, Westmeath), Paudie Reidy (Kildare), Des Shaw (Carlow), Tommy Walsh (Kilkenny).
Scotland: Kevin Bartlett (Caberfeidh), Niall MacPhee (Fort William), John Barr (Glenurquhart), Stuart MacKintosh (Glenurquhart), David Smart (Glenurquhart), Louis Munro (Kingussie), Mark MacDonald (Kinlochshiel), Finlay MacRae (Kinlochshiel), Keith MacRae (Kinlochshiel), Donald Irvine (Kyles Athletic), Neil MacDonald (Lochaber), Shaun Nicolson (Lochaber), Callum Cruden (Lovat), Drew Howie (Lovat), Stuart MacDonald (Lovat), Norman Campbell (Newtonmore), Steven MacDonald (Newtonmore), John Stewart (Kilmallie) and Daniel Cameron (Oban Camanachd).
Referee: Eamonn Hasson (Derry)