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Ireland Club Team Denied By Late Scottish Try

Ireland Club Team Denied By Late Scottish Try

The Ireland Club team went close to retaining the Dalriada Cup in Galashiels tonight, but Paul Cunningham’s men lost out to a late solo try after a cracking encounter with their Scottish counterparts.

With 10 minutes to go Ireland had worked hard to get themselves 18-16 up, until Scotland back rower Jason Hill set off on a run from his own half.

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You got the feeling he was going to get stopped at some point, but he just kept going and going as the defence parted. He dived over the try line for the score and with the conversion going over it saw Scotland triumph 23-18.
Both sides started with good intent and it was the visitors who went close early on. They tackled Scottish winger Scott McLeod in his own territory and forced him to give away a penalty. Moments later, tricky Lansdowne centre Mark Roche went close to touching down, but Scotland defended well.
A 10th minute penalty by scrum half Graham Wilson put the Scottish side 3-0 up, however by the end of the opening quarter, Ireland got themselves on the scoreboard. After a period of pressure, Old Belvedere number 8 Jonathan Slattery (pictured below) took a quick tap and went over from five metres out. Darragh Lyons converted.

Scottish number 8 Ross Weston responded with a converted try, but Cunningham's charges, led by new captain Matt D'Arcy, once again bounced back with eight points of their own before the interval.

Lyons landed a penalty and the elusive Roche (pictured below) ran in a superb unconverted try. He went over on the left after a great break by Ballynahinch's Paul Pritchard and then good handling by supporting hooker Andrew O'Driscoll and skipper D'Arcy.

That left them 15-10 up with 40 minutes remaining and in the first half it has been D'Arcy and Roche who had been causing the Scottish defence the most problems, while openside flanker Pritchard was showing up well in both defence and attack.
A penalty by Wilson just after half-time brought Scotland back to within two points, but Ireland fought back and a good run by Ballymena back rower Stephen Mulholland got them into opposition territory, but the chance was wasted.
The match then entered quite a cagey spell and with 20 minutes remaining it was still 15-13 to the men in green.
Wilson then put a great kick into Ireland's territory and, soon after a lineout and a scrum, Pritchard was penalised on his own 22-metre line. He was yellow carded and Wilson rubbed salt into the wounds by kicking the resultant penalty and the hosts led 16-15.

Six minutes later the teams were level at 14 men each when Scottish full-back Fraser Thomson was sin-binned and Lyons' successful penalty put Ireland ahead again.
Then came Hill's decisive try, though, and late on Ireland had replacement Stephen Murphy yellow carded as Scotland held on for their second home win in the Dalriada Cup series in three years.

Referee: Rhys Thomas (Wales)