/ GAA

Ireland 4-12 Scotland 2-12

Updated: Saturday, 26 Oct 2013 18:40 | Comments

Ireland's Neil McManus celebrates scoring a goal
Ireland's Neil McManus celebrates scoring a goal

Ireland came out on top in the first Hurling/Shinty International Test at Croke Park, winnng 4-12 to 2-12.

The home side had first half goals from Cahir Healy, Graham Mulcahy, Jack Kavanagh and Neil McManus, with Liam McDonald and Finlay MacRae hitting the net for Scotland.

The home side led by 4-05 to 2-03 at half-time, before Scotland responded with scores from MacRae, McDonald and Kevin Bartlett.

Ireland secured the win, thanks to points from Danny Cullen, Mulcahy, Gareth Johnston and Darragh O’Connell.

An entertaining contest kept the small crowd interested right to the end, and while some of the Scottish challenges were on the crude side, no serious injuries were sustained and the contest was never in danger of getting out of hand.

Patrick Maher carved the opening for Cahir Healy to drill home Ireland’s opening goal in the second minute, and they hit the net again on five minutes when Graham Mulcahy finished superbly after picking up John Barr’s sloppy clearance.

When Neil McManus knocked over a free, the home side appeared to be in complete control, but their Celtic cousins found some momentum, and grew in confidence once Liam McDonald intercepted goalkeeper Bernard Rochford’s clearance to smash home a goal.

Kevin Bartlett’s sweetly struck free from the ground earned the Scottish side two points, and they went level in the 23rd minute when Finlay MacRae hit the net, after Kerry’s Rochford had made two excellent saves.

But Ireland regained control in the closing stages of the half, hitting the next six scores, including two goals.

McManus scrambled the ball home after the Scotland defence had failed to clear, and in the 32nd minute, Carlow’s Jack Kavanagh fired in his side’s fourth goal.

Scotland went 17 minutes without scoring, until McDonald steered over an excellent point, and it was Ireland who led by 4-05 to 2-03 at the interval.

Scotland’s placed-ball striking earned them bonus points from Bartlett and Shaun Nicholson, who arrowed a superb long range effort between the posts at the Hill 16 end, but the Irish protected their lead with two Darragh O’Connell scores and an Eoin Price effort.

They almost had a fifth goal when Mulcahy intercepted Donald Irvine’s clearance and fired in a shot which was superbly saved by Stuart Mackintosh.

But Scotland had another spell of strong pressure, and Liam McDonald saw a free come back off the crossbar, while Glen Mackintosh had a searing shot saved by Ireland’s sub goalkeeper Eoin Reilly.

And the Scottish side finished strongly with scores from Mackintosh and Steve McDonald to set themselves up nicely for the return Test at Bught Park, Inverness next Saturday.

Ireland: B Rochford, D English, A Graffin, C Healy (01-00), G Johnston (00-01), B Maher, P Maher, N McManus (01-04, 0-4f), J Kavanagh (01-01), D O’Connell (00-02), S O’Neill, E Price (00-02), C Woods, G Mulcahy (01-01).

Subs: K McKiernan for Kavanagh, D McNicholas for O’Neill, P Divilly for Graffin, D Cullen (00-01)for Mulcahy, Kavanagh for Divilly, E Reilly for Rochford.

Scotland: S Mackintosh, N Campbell, D Irvine, J Barr, D Cameron, S McDonald (00-01), J Hutchinson, S Nicholson (00-02, 2f), F Macrae (01-02 (0-02f), G Mackintosh (00-01), F Mackintosh, K Bartlett (00-04, 4f), L McDonald (01-01), C McCormack.

Subs: C Cruden for Hutchinson, J Macrae (00-01) for S McDonald, K Macrae for Hutchinson, L Bain for F Mackintosh.

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