Brian Walsh’s Ireland side battled manfully but Fraser Harkness scored two tries as Scotland accounted for the visitors in a pulsating Club International match at Myreside, the home of Watsonians FC, on Friday night.
CLUBS INTERNATIONAL MATCH: Friday, March 13
SCOTLAND CLUBS XV 31 IRELAND CLUBS XV 18, Myreside, Watsonians FC
Scorers: Scotland: Tries: Fraser Harkness 2, Angus Martyn; Cons: Scott Wight 2; Pens: Scott Wight 4
Ireland: Tries: Barry O’Mahony, Kevin Moran; Con: Barry Keeshan; Pens: Barry Keeshan 2
Scotland started brightly on a crisp evening and Ayr’s Scott Sutherland stole an Irish lineout in the opening seconds. Then Fraser Harkness, the Selkirk full-back who is having an excellent domestic campaign, burst through with a jinking run only to be stopped in his tracks.
The Irish, fresh from their battling, recent 13-13 draw with the English Counties, did not know what had hit them at this point and it was a surprise that it took Scotland until the ninth minute to open their account.
It was than man Harness again who ran in from 20 metres to go under the posts. Melrose’s Scott Wight, who got all Scotland’s points in the loss to France last month, added the conversion.
It was the 13th minute when Ireland first got into Scotland territory. Out-half Barry Keeshan put his side in a good position with a penalty from hand, but his team-mates could not take advantage.
The first points did come for the Irish in the 20th minute through a Keeshan penalty and it sparked a busy four minutes.
Firstly, Wight converted a penalty and then, just 60 seconds later, Ireland flanker Barry O’Mahony, a Dolphin clubman like Keeshan, showed great pace to score in the left corner. Keeshan converted from the touchline and the teams were tied.
It was nip-and-tuck for the rest of the first period, both Wight and Keeshan striking further penalties to leave the game delicately poised at 13-13 at the break. Ireland coach Brian Walsh would have been happy with this half-time scoreline, given that his side had started the half on the back foot.
The second half began at a frantic pace and there were 20 points scored in the first 18 minutes.
Harkness grabbed his second try of the night in the 43rd minute after a great break from centre Malcolm Clapperton and Wight converted.
Just two minutes later though, Scottish hooker Pat MacArthur was yellow carded and Ireland took full use of their man advantage to score an unconverted pushover try through prop Kevin Moran of the Buccaneers. It was a great forwards move, led by skipper Hugh Hogan, and deserved a try.
Scotland fought back with just 14 men and managed to go up the other end and get their third try. A Wight up-and-under caused massive problems in the Irish defence and Angus Martyn was on hand to dive over and score.
Trailing 25-18 at that point, Ireland needed a big response but when team captain Hogan was yellow carded all hope looked lost.
Adding to the obvious tension, Martyn was then binned for Scotland but when the home defence kept out Ireland’s last attack with 10 minutes to go, the win looked like staying on home turf.
Wight added two more penalties and that was the way it stayed as Scotland repeated their win of 2007 in this fixture.
For Ireland, who have beaten Scotland in 2006 and 2008 at Donnybrook, Keeshan was again in good form but the Scots just had too much in a very entertaining match.
SCOTLAND CLUBS XV: Fraser Harkness (Selkirk); Colin Goudie (Heriot’s), Malcolm Clapperton (Boroughmuir), Dougie Brown (Watsonians), Lee Jones (Selkirk); Scott Wight (Melrose), Alasdhair Macfarlane (Ayr); Alan Dymock (Heriot’s), Pat MacArthur (Ayr), Elliot McLaren (West of Scotland), Damien Kelly (Ayr), Scott Sutherland (Ayr), John Dalziel (Melrose) (capt), Angus Martyn (Boroughmuir), Ross Weston (Currie).
Replacements: Scott Burnett (Heriot’s), Gordon Reid (Ayr), Allan Kelly (Hawks), Andy Dunlop (Ayr), Richard Snedden (Currie), Gavin Craig (Selkirk), Dave McCall (Heriot’s).
IRELAND CLUBS XV: Ed Torrie (UL Bohemians); Cronan Healy (Cork Constitution), Darragh Fitzpatrick (Blackrock College), Philip Brophy (St. Mary’s College), Derek Corcoran (Young Munster); Barry Keeshan (Dolphin), Ruairi Cushion (Old Belvedere); Martin Gately (Highfield), Brett McNamee (Dungannon), Kevin Moran (Buccaneers), Alan Maher (Lansdowne), Marc Warburton (Old Wesley), Kevin Croke (UCD), Barry O’Mahony (Dolphin), Hugh Hogan (St. Mary’s College) (capt).
Replacements: Robert Quinn (Lansdowne), Colum Murphy (Lansdowne), Alex Dunlop (Terenure College), Richie Leyden (Old Belvedere), Sam Cronin (UCC), Killian Lett (UCD), Tadhg Bennett (Shannon).