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Late McEvoy Try Secures Memorable Midlands Win For Ireland Club Team
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Late McEvoy Try Secures Memorable Midlands Win For Ireland Club Team

Late McEvoy Try Secures Memorable Midlands Win For Ireland Club Team

Lansdowne's Daniel McEvoy dots down for the Ireland Club XV against Scotland last year ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

The Ireland and Scotland teams served up a highly entertaining Ulster Bank Club International contest with Morgan Lennon’s side edging the decision, 26-23, in a thrilling finish at Dubarry Park, writes Michael Silke.

A decent attendance braved the bitterly cold night at Buccaneers RFC's home ground and they were well rewarded with a lively and committed affair from start to finish, as Morgan Lennon and Rob Chrystie's squads did their respective leagues, the Ulster Bank League and BT Premiership, very proud.

Both sides endeavoured to play expansively and had chances before a blistering Ireland counter attack from inside their own 22 saw Harry Brennan race away along the left flank before offloading to Terenure College full-back Jake Swaine for a stunning opening try, ten minutes in. Ireland captain Neil Cronin duly converted, but a brace of Craig Jackson penalties reduced Scotland's arrears to the minimum – 7-6.
The Scots, who had won their last two meetings with Ireland, then enjoyed a good spell before the hosts regrouped to force the pace. It took a last-ditch tackle by Fraser Thomson, the Scottish full-back and captain, to deny his opposite number Swaine another try following a free-flowing Ireland move initiated by Jack Dwan and carried on by Daniel McEvoy.

Nonetheless, Ireland were able to notch their second try closing in on half-time. Jordan Edmunds made a mess of a long kick ahead, the hosts' smartly-taken lineout caused confusion in the Scots defence and Cork Constitution flanker Joe McSwiney charged over for a 36th minute try with Cronin converted.

There was still time for the impressive Thomson to weave his way over for a splendid unconverted try in the final play of the first half, albeit that he was helped by a blatant block that went unpunished. That score narrow Ireland's advantage at the interval to 14-11.
Responding to Lennon and assistant coach Johne Murphy's half-time words, the men in green dominated after the change of ends and Scotland replacement Nick Beavon, on the pitch literally a matter of seconds, was sin-binned in the 49th minute for bringing down a maul. Yet, Ireland were hurried in their play and lacked composure for this spell, and they were unable to make their numerical advantage count.

The game ignited again when a sparkling 67th-minute Irish attack seemed certain to yield a third try. They were denied by a knock-on from a Scotland defender and referee Matthew Turvey, following consultation with a touch judge, awarded a penalty try.

Scotland hit back swiftly and, after some neat interplay, full-back Thomson notched his second try on 70 minutes, with the conversion off target again. The bigger visiting pack then put in a superb maul just two minutes later to earn a penalty try that edged them ahead for the first time at 23-21.

Spurred on by the home crowd, Ireland responded with some fine, patient attacking play that led to McEvoy – Division 1A's top try scorer last season – arcing in for a match-winning 77th-minute try which Swaine was unable to convert.

There was still time for Scotland to unleash their huge pack in an effort to retrieve the situation in a dramatic conclusion. Doggedly, Ireland, for whom Terenure's industrious lock Michael Melia won the Ulster Bank man-of-the-match award, held out for narrow but well-merited victory. So, it is all to play for at Netherdale on Friday, March 16 (kick-off 7.30pm) when the overall winners of this Ireland-Scotland match-up will lift the Dalriada Cup.

Referee: Matthew Turvey (England)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Jake Swaine (Tenenure College); Harry Brennan (Lansdowne), Niall Kenneally (Cork Constitution), Matt D'Arcy (Clontarf), Daniel McEvoy (Lansdowne); Jamie Gavin (Garryowen), Neil Cronin (Garryowen) (capt); Cronan Gleeson (Old Wesley), Paddy Finlay (Dublin University), Colm Skehan (Young Munster), Alex Thompson (Terenure College), Michael Melia (Tenenure College), Jack Dwan (Lansdowne), Joe McSwiney (Cork Constitution), Michael Noone (Clontarf).
Replacements used: Eamonn Mills (Lansdowne) for Kenneally (40 minutes-half-time, blood sub), Ed Rossiter (Old Belvedere) for Finlay (45), Angus Lloyd (Dublin University) for Cronin (50), Mills for Brennan (56), Tom O'Reilly (St. Mary's College) for Gleeson, Michael Cromie (Banbridge) for Skehan (both 60), Paulie Tolofua (Naas) for McSwiney (65), Mark O'Neill (Terenure College) for Gavin, Ciaran Ruddock (St. Mary's College) for Thompson (both 69).

Away Team

Fraser Thomson (Melrose) (capt); Jordan Edmunds (Boroughmuir), Ross Curle (Stirling County), Robbie Nelson (Currie Chieftains), Craig Gossman (Ayr); Craig Jackson (Melrose), Charlie Shiel (Currie Chieftains); Shawn Muir (Hawick), Russell Anderson (Melrose), Steven Longwell (Ayr), Iain Moody (Melrose), Robert McAlpine (Ayr), Blair MacPherson (Ayr), Jack Turley (Heriot's), Pete McCallum (Ayr).
Replacements: Michael Liness (Heriot's), Nick Beavon (Melrose), Struan Cessford (Heriot's), Ruairidh Leishman (Stirling County), Rory Drummond (Watsonians), Murdo McAndrew (Melrose), Scott Lyle (Ayr), George Taylor (Melrose).

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Jake Swaine, Joe McSwiney, Penalty try, Daniel McEvoy; Cons: Neil Cronin 2, Pen try con

Away Team

Tries: Fraser Thomson 2, Penalty try; Pens: Craig Jackson 2, Pen try con