Scotland 3-15 (24) Ireland 2-08 (14)
A strong first-half display helped Scotland to a 3-15 to 2-08 win over Ireland in Saturday’s Shinty-Hurling International in Inverness.
Lovat’s Kevin Bartlett once again proved to be a thorn in Ireland’s side, with six two-pointers, including five in the opening half, as Scotland took a 3-13 to 0-04 interval lead.
In mixed weather conditions, Glen MacKintosh, Liam MacDonald, and Fraser Heath fired first-half goals, as the hosts got off to the perfect start.
Laois’s Zane Keenan kept Ireland in touch, but on the restart defences stood firm, with both sides failed to add a score in a 17-minute spell after the break.
Kerry’s Shane Nolan broke the dead-lock with the first of two goals for Ireland, with Keenan continuing to add points from placed balls.
However, Scotland had done enough to register their biggest win since 2007.
Ireland came into this game experienced players Neal McAuley from Antrim and Down’s Conor Woods ruled out, along with an ankle injury to Waterford’s All-Star nominee Maurice Shanahan, but still called on plenty of experience, with 13 of last years squad available.
The addition of Tipperary’s Patrick ‘Bonnar’ Maher and Galway’s Shane Maloney added greatly to the side, captained by Laois’s Matthew Whelan.
However, all of the positivity surrounding Ireland was somewhat shattered in the opening half, as Scotland worked hard for scores.
While the sides were tied twice inside the opening 16 minutes, with the score at 0-02 and 0-04 apiece, Ireland failed to score for another 40 minutes, as Scotland firmly upped their game.
A Steven MacDonald two-pointer from a 65 metre free after 19 minutes handed the hosts a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Scotland would add 3-06 to their tally before the break, including two goals in a five-minute spell.
On 20 minutes, MacKintosh fired a rasping shot that left Reilly with no chance, and five minutes later Liam MacDonald done likewise.
Bartlett’s third two-pointer of the game followed, before Glenurqhart’s Fraser Heath completed the home side hat-trick 11 minutes before the break.
Bartlett added a further four points, with Liam MacDonald also adding a point to open up an 18-point interval lead.
Try as they might Ireland couldn’t sent the ball between the posts during the third quarter, with a well crafted Shane Nolan goal the first score from either side in the second half, in the 57th minute.
Bartlett replied with a two-pointer, and although Keenan added a further four points, and Nolan fired a second goal after some poor defending by Finlay MacRae, there was no doubt that Scotland would end this game as winners.
Earlier, Laois’s PJ Scully scored 2-02, Waterford’s Austin Gleeson bagged five points, while Jack Fagan, Ben Conroy and James Doyle registered the other goals in Ireland’s 5-10 to 1-03 win over Scotland in the Under 21 International.
Scotland: Stuart MacDonald, Steven MacDonald (0-02), F MacRae, C Miller, R Kennedy, L Bain, J Barr, G Irvine, R MacDonald, K Bartlett(0-12), G MacKintosh(1-00), F Heath (1-00), S Nicolson. Interchange Subs: C Cormack, L MacDonald (1-01), D Cameron, Z Ferguson, N Reid, P MacArthur, S MacKintosh.
Ireland: E Reilly; M Burke, B Deay, P Divilly, D Healy, G Johnson, Z Keenan (0-08), P Maher, D McInerney, D McNicholas, B Murphy, S Nolan(2-00), E Price, M Whelan. Interchange Subs: S Maloney, N Ó Muineacháin, J Toher, P Coady.
Referee: Evan MacRae (Scotland)