AIB CLUB INTERNATIONAL: Friday, March 10
IRELAND 30 SCOTLAND 13, Donnybrook (Att: 3,500)
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Conor Hartigan, David Quinlan, Niall O'Brien; Cons: Gareth Steenson 2, David Delaney; Pens: Steenson 3
Scotland: Try: Mark Robertson; Con: Michael Adamson; Pens: Adamson 2
First half tries from Buccaneers duo Conor Hartigan and David Quinlan helped steer Ireland to a deserved victory over Scotland. Dungannon's Gareth Steenson was also in fine form with the boot, landing three penalties and two conversions for a 13 point haul.
Mick Galwey's Irish side, made up of players from the AIB League, took the spoils in this unique Donnybrook duel despite a shaky start. Having gone 10-0 down, the power of the Irish front five, with Dublin University hooker Matt Crockett, who claimed the man of the match gong, in electric form, gradually saw the home side take control.
A ruck infringement allowed Glasgow Hawks full back Michael Adamson kick Scotland in front from an eighth-minute penalty. The Scots soon regained possession and pressed their lively backs into action with scrum half Calum Cusiter, elder brother of Scotland and Lions star Chris Cusiter, particularly prominent.
A 13th-minute lineout steal paved the way for the visitors' only try. Boroughmuir flanker Angus Martyn gobbled up an Irish throw, laid the ball on a plate for Cusiter and Adamson, who, despite being tackled, was still able to offload for Melrose winger Mark Robertson to glide over. Stung by that try, which Adamson converted, the Irish pack stepped it up a gear. They got their just reward on 20 minutes when flanker Hartigan stole a lineout at the rear and he burst through into the Scottish 22, stepping off his left and inside the tackle of Adamson, to go in behind the posts. Steenson converted and dinked over his first penalty on the half-hour to level matters at 10-all.
Struggling in the set piece, the Scots saw their share of possession dwindle away. They had a nightmare finish to the first half when, two minutes into injury-time, the Irish scrum got up a head of steam and captain Quinlan controlled the ball well at his feet to dot down his try. Steenson converted for a 17-point turnaround. Adamson and Steenson traded penalties coming up to the hour mark as the game went through a scrappy spell.
UCC full back Denis Hurley put in a thundering hit on Rory Couper when the Scottish winger looked to have a run-in on the left flank. Steenson's third penalty on 71 minutes - the former Ireland Under-21 captain's fifth successful kick - then gave the Irish a degree of comfort to see out an historic win. A converted try for Clontarf winger Niall O'Brien, who did well to collect a cross-field kick from replacement scrum half Gerry Hurley (Garryowen), and the touchline conversion from David Delaney, who came on for Steenson, was the icing on the cake for Galwey's charges.
TIME LINE: 8 minutes - Scotland penalty: Michael Adamson - 0-3 13 mins - Scotland try: Mark Robertson - 0-8; conversion: Michael Adamson - 0-10 20 mins - Ireland try: Conor Hartigan - 5-10; conversion: Gareth Steenson - 7-10 29 mins - Ireland penalty: Gareth Steenson - 10-10 40+2 mins - Ireland try: David Quinlan - 15-10; conversion: Gareth Steenson - 17-10; Half-time - Ireland 17 Scotland 10; 53 mins - Scotland penalty: Michael Adamson - 17-13 56 mins - Ireland penalty: Gareth Steenson - 20-13 71 mins - Ireland penalty: Gareth Steenson - 23-13 80+2 mins - Ireland try: Niall O'Brien - 28-13; conversion: David Delaney - 30-13; Full-time - Ireland 30 Scotland 13
IRELAND: Denis Hurley (UCC); Niall O'Brien (Clontarf), Stephen Grissing (UCD), Breffni O'Donnell (Clontarf), Derek Keane (Clontarf); Gareth Steenson (Dungannon), Fiach O'Loughlin (Clontarf); Niall Conlon (Dublin University), Matt Crockett (Dublin University), Simon Shawe (Ballymena), Marc Warburton (Dublin University), Alan Maher (Lansdowne), Peter Malone (Garryowen), Conor Hartigan (Buccaneers), David Quinlan (Buccaneers) (capt).
Replacements used: Ciaran O'Boyle (Garryowen) for Grissing, Gerry Hurley (Garryowen) for O'Loughlin (both 51 mins), Kevin Corrigan (Lansdowne) for Crockett, Robert Sweeney (Clontarf) for Shawe (both 65), Kevin Croke (UCD) for Malone, David Delaney (Shannon) for Steenson (both 74), Rory McGrath (Dolphin) for Maher (75).
SCOTLAND: Michael Adamson (Glasgow Hawks); Mark Robertson (Melrose), Jamie Murray (Melrose), Stewart Smith (Glasgow Hawks), Rory Couper (Boroughmuir); Murray Strang (Glasgow Hawks), Calum Cusiter (Boroughmuir), Bruce McNeil (Hawick), Wayne Mitchell (Melrose), Moray Low (Aberdeen GSFP), Bruce MacFarlane (Stirling County), Richie Maxton (Glasgow Hawks), Tam McVie (Heriot's) (capt), Andy Dunlop (Biggar), Angus Martyn (Boroughmuir).
Replacements used: Sandy Warnock (Glasgow Hawks) for B McFalane, Steven Duffy (Glasgow Hawks) for Smith (both half-time), Alistair Jamie Murray (Melrose) for McVie (56 mins), Alasdhair McFarlane (Ayr) for Cusiter (61), Richard Borthwick (Stewart's-Melville FP) for Adamson (62), David Cunningham (Boroughmuir) for Mitchell, Elliott McLaren (Biggar) for McNeil (both 74).
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)