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Ireland Club XV Fall To Narrow Defeat In Cork
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Ireland Club XV Fall To Narrow Defeat In Cork

Ireland Club XV Fall To Narrow Defeat In Cork

The Ireland Club XV put in a brave performance at Temple Hill tonight but failed in their bid to wrestle the Dalriada Cup back from their Scottish counterparts.

All the damage was done during the opening quarter of this frustrating 19-13 defeat. After putting 57 points on England Counties recently, Scotland Clubs made the trip south brimming with confidence.

The Scots started with a flourish and grabbed a 13-point lead in the early stages of the game, two penalties and a conversion from out-half Lee Armstrong and a try from work-hungry flanker Jack Turley.

Armstrong opened the scoring with a fifth minute penalty. It was his cross-field kick that saw winger Jordan Edmunds go close to the first try. He came up just short, but Turley was quickly in to gather possession and crash over.

Armstrong converted and also nailed a 17th minute penalty, with Scottish captain and key distributor Ross Curle – the eventual man-of-the-match – continuing to impress with ball in hand.

Paul Cunningham's men in green were bidding to become only the third Ireland Club team to win two internationals in the same season, a feat achieved by the 2011 and 2014 sides coached by David O'Mahony and Tom Tierney respectively.

However, Matt D'Arcy and his team-mates lacked the defensive solidity that was a hallmark of last month's 16-12 victory in France, especially early on when Scotland made significant headway.

Ireland were reeling from the pressure of a high tempo game and they also conceded a number of unnecessary penalties, although the home crowd were none too pleased with a couple awarded by Welsh referee Dewi Phillips.
Putting a disappointing first quarter behind them, Cunningham's charges did manage to claw their way back slowly. They did so with an opening try from full-back Daniel Riordan in the right corner, off a cross-field kick from Scott Deasy whose half-back partner Neil Cronin had made the initial incision with a break up the left wing.

That unconverted effort came in the 22nd minute and was followed by another well-taken score from winger Mark Roche – fresh from this week's Ireland Sevens camp in Madrid – to leave it 13-10 at the break, with the Irish finishing the first half in good stead.

The second half action was less frantic than the first and the early scores came from out-halves Armstrong and Scott Deasy with penalties, leaving the score 16-13 for the visitors. Scotland lost lock Lewis Carmichael to the sin-bin before Deasy's successful kick.
Centre and skipper D'Arcy had one great run from a 51st minute intercept that almost led to a third try. Unfortunately he was just denied by the Scottish cover, and his brilliant dummy also came to nothing some minutes later. Although Ireland spent much of the second half in opposition territory, a combination of handling errors and solid Scottish defence kept them at bay.

Crucially, they failed to nail a couple of try-scoring chances with D'Arcy their most threatening runner. Cork native Deasy also saw his 72nd minute kick to level matters drift wide. Sensing the moment, Phil Smith's side came back and Armstrong kicked an injury-time penalty to seal the win and a first ever unbeaten season for Scotland Clubs.

Cunningham admitted afterwards: “It was a bad start for sure, but we recovered and came back. Still, we had plenty of chances and didn't take them so we can't have a major complaint. Listen, no disgrace, the lads put in a huge effort after a terrible start and I couldn't criticise the effort.”

Referee: Dewi Phillips (Wales)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Daniel Riordan (Old Belvedere); James McInerney (Garryowen), Stephen Murphy (UCD), Matt D'Arcy (Clontarf) (capt), Mark Roche (Lansdowne); Scott Deasy (Lansdowne), Neil Cronin (Garryowen); Ian Prendiville (Lansdowne), Max Abbott (Cork Constitution), Ger Sweeney (Cork Constitution), Ciaran Ruddock (St. Mary's College), Philip Donnellan (Lansdowne), Charlie Butterworth (Lansdowne), Paul Pritchard (Ballynahinch), Tony Ryan (Clontarf)

Replacements used: Angus Lloyd (Dublin University) for Cronin (55 mins), John Fitzgerald (Dolphin) for Butterworth, Brian McGovern (St. Mary's College) for Prendiville, Declan Lavery (Old Belvedere) for Sweeney (all 58), Paddy Finlay (Dublin University) for Abbott, Connor Smyth (Ballymena) for Donnellan, Rodger McBurney (Ballymena) for Riordan, Jack McDermott (Dublin University) for Deasy (all 76).

Away Team

Fraser Thomson (Melrose); Sam Pecquer (Melrose), Ross Curle (Ayr) (capt), Brendan McGroarty (Glasgow Hawks), Jordan Edmunds (Boroughmuir); Lee Armstrong (Hawick), Paddy Boyer (Glasgow Hawks); George Hunter (Ayr), Ross Graham (Hawick), Nick Beavon (Melrose), Robert McAlpine (Ayr), Lewis Carmichael (Melrose), Jack Turley (Heriot's), Will Bordill (Ayr), Peter McCallum (Ayr).

Replacements: Michael Liness (Heriot's), Alistair Hamilton (Heriot's), Jamie Bhatti (Melrose), Russell Nimmo (Heriot's), Neil Irvine-Hess (Melrose), George Graham (Gala), Cameron Ferguson (Heriot's), Harvey Elms (Currie).

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Daniel Riordan, Mark Roche; Pen: Scott Deasy

Away Team

Try: Jack Turley; Con: Lee Armstrong; Pens: Lee Armstrong 4