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Match Tracker: Ireland Club XV 20 Scotland Club XV 15

Match Tracker: Ireland Club XV 20 Scotland Club XV 15

A first half try from debutant Max Rantz-McDonald and five penalties from the left boot of Barry Keeshan guided Ireland to a hard-fought victory over Scotland in Friday’s AIB Club International at Donnybrook. Read on for a blow-by-blow account.

2008 AIB CLUB INTERNATIONAL: Friday, February 22


Scorers: Ireland: Try: Max Rantz-McDonald; Pens: Barry Keeshan 5

Scotland: Tries: Marc Teague, Graeme Dodds; Con: Stephen Ruddick; Penalty: Andrew Skeen


80+2 mins: Heartbreak for Scotland as with Couper looking set to go over unchallenged in the left corner, the Scottish winger drops the ball into touch and referee Wigglesworth blows the final whistle just seconds later. A nail-biting triumph for Ireland but a deserved one nonetheless. John Ed O’Connor is confirmed as the AIB/RTE man-of-the-match – it was a tireless effort from the all-action flanker.

80+1 mins: IRELAND YELLOW CARD! Worrying times for the home side as Malone is sin-binned for coming in at the side of a ruck. Desperate defence from Ireland as the Scots build phase after phase and their physicality is seeing them break through tackles.

78 mins: SCOTLAND TRY! Ireland have lost their shape. They seem out on their feet and will do well to defend this lead. The Scots get over for a deserved try after a flurry of phases in the hosts’ 22. Cottrell and Ruddick combine to put Dodds scrambling over to the left of the posts. Ruddick converts to whittle Ireland’s lead down to 20-15. 20-15.

75 mins: Greg Cottrell is on for Scotland at out-half with Skeen making way. It is all hands to pump for Ireland as they face a late onslaught from the Scots, whose superior fitness could help them get back into contention.

74 mins: Ireland coach Walsh is emptying his bench. Merle O’Connell for Maher and Des Murray for Varley.

72 mins: A change at hooker for the Scots – Pat MacArthur is on for Sean Crombie. Ireland had a good position in the Scottish half but John Ed O’Connor, who has got a bloodied nose for his troubles, is whistled up for an off-the-ball clash.

71 mins: More replacements for Ireland – Andrew Finn and Alan Kingsley are on for Moloney and Keeshan respectively. John Ed O’Connor takes a quick tap close to the Scots’ ten-metre line and gains five metres.

70 mins: Excellent snaffle of the ball from Varley near the 22 after a Dodds-inspired attack. Keeshan tries to find touch, his kick is short but his opposite number Skeen knocks on and Ireland will have a scrum ball close to the halfway line.

68 mins: Brown mades a good line-break, bringing the Scots up towards the hosts’ 22. They win a penalty, kick it to touch and quickly set up ruck possession. Advantage Ireland though as the men in navy knock on.

67 mins: Cushion is off with UCC scrum half Sam Cronin replacing him. Graeme Dodds and George Oommen are on for Scotland.

65 mins: Scotland gets some decent possession out on the right, after launching a quick counter attack through Ross Weston. Adam, Teague and Martyn all carry forward before Healy is in the right place at the right time to secure turnover ball and the Scots infringe again at the ruck to offer Ireland a chance to clear their lines.

63 mins: IRELAND PENALTY! Ireland edge further clear as Keeshan’s penalty attempt, after a ruck infringement by Kelly, goes over off the right post. 20-8.

60 mins: Two changes for Ireland with Shawe and Hogan making way and Rob Sweeney and Peter Malone coming on. McNeil is also staying off for Scotland with McVie rejoining Mountford on the field of play.

59 mins: Keeshan misses the right-sided penalty, dropping the ball just short of the posts. So Ireland’s lead remains at 17-8.

57 mins: Great hit in midfield by Stafford on Scottish full-back Stephen Ruddick. The Lansdowne clubman shunting him backwards onto the turf. Scotland kick forward and Healy retrieves. The Constitution winger wins a kickable penalty as he hit off the ball by Kelly as he chases his own chip.

56 mins: Kelly muscles his way forward, shrugging off two tacklers before almost finding the supporting Teague. A successful pass there and a stretched Ireland might have been in trouble. Better stuff from the Scots, they are rallying.

54 mins: Danger man Teague makes good yardage again and replacement Brown is stopped just short of the Irish try line. Ireland regroup. Cushion kicks to touch and Shane O’Connor comes up with a good lineout steal.

52 mins: Scotland are forced to bring on a replacement prop – Garry Mountford comes in for back row and captain McVie.

51 mins: Perfectly timed. Crawford is back on the pitch for Ireland. There is a bout of aerial ping pong with Snedden and Couper failing to find touch. Rantz-McDonald charges forward and spins out of tackle with support from Shane O’Connor.

49 mins: IRELAND PENALTY! Keeshan sends over his fourth successful kick from five attempts. 17-8.

48 mins: SCOTLAND YELLOW CARD! Scottish prop McNeil is getting ten minutes in the sin-bin. Rightly so for a high tackle around the neck of the onrushing Healy. Keeshan will go for goal again.

47 mins: Scotland are beginning to get frustrated. Their advantage in the scrum is negated as Hogan controls well at the base of the scrum and the Scots are pinged for an offside. A knock on from Martyn also spoiled some decent possession for the visitors.

45 mins: IRELAND PENALTY! Keeshan knocks the 28-metre penalty through the uprights for what could be a vital score for Ireland. 14-8.

43 mins: Lineout take by Hogan and Ireland attack through the middle. Cushion snipes through and does well to keep hold of possession and win a penalty as the Scots coming in at the side of a ruck. The advantage sees Healy try to break through the defensive line but play is called back for the penalty.

42 mins: Penalty to Ireland, just outside the hosts’ 22. Scotland are offside at a ruck and Keeshan finds a good touch on the right.

Second Half: Kick-Off: Scotland have made a change at the break with Dougie Brown coming on for Clafferton in the centre. Good news from Dubarry Park, the Ireland Under-20s are leading 17-0 at the break. The Irish Women have also recorded a 13-3 win over Scotland at Templeville Road in a 6pm kick-off – Sarahjane Belton and Jo O’Sullivan with the tries.


40+1 mins: Skeen’s penalty attempt from 44 metres just drops short of the crossbar and Healy collects it. That is the last action of an entertaining first half. Ireland, although down to 14 men, take an 11-8 advantage into the break.

40 mins: IRELAND YELLOW CARD! Referee Wigglesworth has lost his patience. Scotland win a turnover off an Irish lineout and at the ensuing ruck the hosts are whistled up for playing the ball on the deck. Simon Crawford is the offender and he is yellow carded.

38 mins: Bit of a coming together between the forwards. Scotland are penalised for an infringement on the deck by flanker Andy Adam. Ireland opt to kick the penalty, from the ten-metre line, to touch. Lineout possession is won but the Scots defend well and Keeshan resorts to an ambitious drop goal attempt which tails away to the right of the posts.

36 mins: IRELAND PENALTY! Strong response from Ireland as they win a penalty straight off the restart. Keeshan pings the kick over from just outside the 22-metre line from a central position. 11-8.

33 mins: SCOTLAND TRY! A loose kick forward off that maul puts Ireland in trouble. The Scots work the ball out to the right where there is plenty of space. Centre Graham Thomson evades two tackles and the impressive Teague, who scored two tries recently against the Welsh, had the pace to dart over in the right corner from 25 metres out. Skeen’s conversion kick is wide of the mark. 8-8.

32 mins: Good surge towards the right wing by Richard Snedden. He finds Couper who dinks a kick forward and he finds touch just five metres from the Irish try line. Varley’s lineout throw is a good one though, Maher gathers it and the Irish strike up a great maul.

30 mins: Healy is really enjoying himself here. He picks up possession in midfield and spins out of a tackle before gaining ten metres. His pass inside fails to find a team-mate and Scotland regroup. Another lineout to the Irish and after a take from O’Connor, Keeshan left-foots to touch.

29 mins: Scotland spread the ball wide and the powerful Marc Teague gains good yardage on the right. Referee Tim Wigglesworth spots a knock on however as Healy retrieves a kick near the Irish 22. Play settles back near halfway with an Irish lineout which captain Maher wins.

26 mins: Varley connects with Shane O’Connor at a lineout on the stand-side. Better play out of touch from the men in green. But Scotland do well to disrupt Cushion’s attempt at a box kick and the Old Belvedere clubman is whistled up for a knock on.

25 mins: Ireland put more pressure on the Scots as Hogan picks and goes off the base of the scrum. Cushion and Varley do well to kick hold of possession and a clever kick to the left touchline from Keeshan sets the Irish pack moving.

23 mins: Lineout steal by Andy Adam. Scotland kick forward and Cushion is bundled into touch. Excellent reading of the lineout by Shane O’Connor as he gets in to disrupt the lineout and win scrum ball for his side.

22 mins: Healy is used in midfield as Keeshan pops an inside ball and sends his winger into space. Unfortunately the ball is knocked on as Stafford tries to take it on and Scotland kick clear from their 22. Scrum ball to Ireland back near their 22.

20 mins: Good control at the lineout by the Irish forwards. Keeshan sends a booming left-footed kick down the touchline. Another impressive cameo from Healy on the right as he jinks away from two defenders and sets up Cushion for a dart forward. Penalty to Ireland as the Scots are whistled up for not rolling away.

18 mins: IRELAND PENALTY! Keeshan sends the right-sided penalty over from inside the 22 to put Ireland into a five-point lead. A deserved one going on the last five minutes’ play. 8-3.

17 mins: Healy worked into space on the right wing. The balding winger does well to tee up the ball for the supporting Greg Stafford and the forwards join in to maul forward. Penalty to Ireland as the Scots infringe. 

15 mins: Great break from Moloney up the middle. The Dolphin centre is really coming into the game. Shane O’Connor claimed lineout ball and a quick switch sends Moloney scooting through a gap. He cannot find a team-mate unfortunately and Angus Martyn gets back to intercept and clear the danger.

13 mins: IRELAND TRY! Ireland’s first real chance to attack in the visitors’ 22 and they notch a try. They were awarded a free kick. John Ed O’Connor was again involved in taking the ball on, the ruck was formed and Keeshan’s lovely cut out pass to left put Moloney into space before he sent Rantz-McDonald over in the left corner for a try on his AIB Club International debut. Keeshan fails with the conversion attempt. 5-3.

12 mins: Ireland hooker Varley is a bit over eager at the lineout and he fails to find his jumper Shane O’Connor. The referee spots a knock before Malcolm Clapperton slices the ball to touch.

10 mins: Clever play from Ireland as Keeshan’s dinked kick is collected by John Ed O’Connor and he gallops forward, bringing the ball up over the halfway line but his pass inside to Rantz-McDonald is dropped. Encouraging signs though.

9 mins: Ireland reclaim the ball off Keeshan’s restart. Ruairi Cushion and Damien Varley pile forward off rucks, brining the ball up to the Scottish 22 but Kelly gets in to grab turnover ball. The visitors kick forward and the bouncing ball causes trouble for McKechnie and Max Rantz-McDonald, the latter doing well to retrieve possession and set up the ruck on the home 22.

7 mins: SCOTLAND PENALTY! The Scots take the lead as Skeen pops the ball between the posts from a central position. 0-3.

6 mins: Worrying signs for Ireland at the breakdown as referee Tim Wigglesworth pings John Ed O’Connor for a ruck infringement. Scotland are going to go for goal from 30 metres out.

4 mins: The Scots continue to look the more lively. Rory Couper gets put through in a one-on-one with Healy but nothing comes of it. Better play from Ireland then, Keeshan is gaining more control at out-half but the Scots are dominating possession. Good battle at scrum time between Simon Shawe and Bruce McNeil.

2 minutes: Slick start from the Scots. They win a penalty, penalising John Ed O’Connor from coming in at the side of a ruck. The visitors shun the kick and goal and a quick tap almost ends with big lock Damien Kelly barging over in the left corner. A combination of Cronan Healy, John Ed O’Connor and David McKechnie pushed him into touch at the corner flag.

Kick-Off: Andrew Skeen starts the game. Ireland lock Shane O’Connor misjudges the kick but a Scottish knock gives Ireland a scrum on their ten-metre line. Hugh Hogan takes the ball on off the base of the scrum and Barry Keeshan clears to touch.

7.35pm: The kick-off should be slightly delayed here. Scotland are just out on the pitch. Ireland, led by Lansdowne’s Alan Maher, race out onto the turf and they are clearly fired up. Plenty of newcomers to this international standard in the Ireland side so let us see how they fare.

7.30pm: Scotland should make the better start here at Donnybrook, considering they played the cream of Welsh amateur club talent earlier this month at Caerphilly. Ian Rankin’s charges claimed an impressive 34-7 win then and are unchanged so the Brian Walsh-coached Ireland, with nine newcomers, will face a tough test.

7.25pm: There are some familiar names in the Scottish line-up with back rower Tam McVie again captaining the side. He was the Scots skipper last year but only Cronan Healy, Simon Shawe, Merle O’Connell, Alan Maher and Peter Malone survive from the Irish team that started that 18-11 defeat. 

7.15pm: Hello and welcome to IrishRugby.ie’s live text commentary of tonight’s AIB Club International between Ireland and their Scottish counterparts. Conditions are cold and particularly windy and that could have a big bearing on the game.

These two sides have met twice in the last two seasons. Ireland won the inaugural AIB Club International back at this very venue in March 2006. Tries from Conor Hartigan, David Quinlan and Niall O’Brien helped the Irish to a 30-13 victory, but the Scots were 18-11 winners in last season’s clash at Boroughmuir RFC, despite a try from Richard McCarter and two Andrew Thompson penalties.

IRELAND CLUB XV: David McKechnie (Greystones); Cronan Healy (Cork Constitution), Greg Stafford (Lansdowne), Eric Moloney (Dolphin), Max Rantz-McDonald (Clontarf); Barry Keeshan (Dolphin), Ruairi Cushion (Old Belvedere); Martin Gately (Highfield), Damien Varley (Garryowen), Simon Shawe (Ballymena), Alan Maher (Lansdowne) (capt), Shane O’Connor (Cork Constitution), Simon Crawford (Clontarf), John Ed O’Connor (UL Bohemians), Hugh Hogan (St. Mary’s College).

Replacements: Des Murray (Cork Constitution), Rob Sweeney (St. Mary’s College), Merle O’Connell (Cork Constitution), Peter Malone (Garryowen), Sam Cronin (UCC), Alan Kingsley (Garryowen), Andrew Finn (Shannon).

SCOTLAND CLUB XV: Stephen Ruddick (Boroughmuir); Marc Teague (Heriot’s), Graham Thomson (Dundee HSFP), Malcolm Clapperton (Boroughmuir), Rory Couper (Boroughmuir); Andrew Skeen (Watsonians), Richard Snedden (Currie); Bruce McNeil (Heriot’s), Sean Crombie (Boroughmuir), Jon Welsh (GHA), Damien Kelly (Ayr), Andy Adam (Currie), Tam McVie (Heriot’s) (capt), Ross Weston (Currie), Angus Martyn (Boroughmuir).

Replacements: Pat MacArthur (Ayr), Garry Mountford (Stirling County), Graeme Dodds (Melrose), George Oommen (Dundee HSFP), Greg Cottrell (Boroughmuir), Colin Goudie (Heriot’s), Dougie Brown (Watsonians).

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (England)
Touch Judges: David Keane, Eanna O’Dowd (both Ireland)