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Second Half Comeback Not Enough For Ireland Club Team

Second Half Comeback Not Enough For Ireland Club Team

Scotland’s Club team lifted the Dalriada Cup with their first victory over Ireland since 2009 after an entertaining encounter at Ayr’s Millbrae ground tonight.

The likes of man-of-the-match Alex Allan, number 8 Andrew Nagle and winger Craig Gossman were the stand-out perfomers for the Scots in their 30-18 victory.

The hosts got off to a fast start and some forceful runs from Nagle and slick passing from scrum half George Graham were in evidence.

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It was Ireland who had the first chance to get points on the board in the third minute, but debutant out-half Gavin Dunne pushed a penalty kick wide.

Three minutes later London Scottish-bound Lee Millar missed a penalty of his own for the hosts. Less than 60 seconds later he was given a chance to redeem himself, but again he missed and it remained scoreless.

A rampaging run from Allan then set up Scotland’s third kickable penalty in the 11th minute. Allan, the Edinburgh Accies man, showed great skill and a turn of speed to run 30 metres and when the defence were offside at the next breakdown, Millar made it 3-0.

Two minutes later Scotland’s forwards combined for a great try. In the end Aberdeen Grammar lock Murray Douglas gave the scoring pass to Allan, who had clearly got the taste for having ball in hand, and he crashed over. Millar’s conversion hit the post.

A frantic first 20 minutes came to an end when Millar kicked two more penalties and Scotland were buzzing and 14-0 up.

As the half hour approached Conor Twomey's Irish side, boosted by their recent defeat of England Counties, were pushing hard to get themselves on the scoreboard when lock Brian Quill went down injured.

After a 10-minute delay while his ankle problem was attended to by the medics, the game continued and after 10 phases of Irish pressure a loose pass by Dunne as he tried to force the issue was hacked away by Scotland centre Max Learmonth.

He kicked it along the ground a few times before just knocking it on under pressure with the try-line in sight.

As the interval approached Ireland tried to gain some momentum, but the Scottish defence held firm and their strong tackling often led to turnovers or the visitors being penalised for holding on.

And on the stroke of half-time Millar added his fourth penalty of the night from in front of the posts to make it 17-0 after Gossman had gone close with a good run.

Three minutes after the break a penalty from St. Mary's College clubman Dunne finally got Ireland on the scoreboard and they held onto that momentum.

Shortly afterwards, a great attacking lineout and then a powerful forward drive led to replacement hooker Richie Sweeney scoring a try just moments after entering the fray and the visitors' tails were up.

In the 50th minute Ireland, the Dalriada Cup holders, had a man advantage also when Scotland hooker Fraser Brown was yellow carded and Dunne kicked another three points, cutting the gap to 17-11 and it was game on.

Currie full-back Jamie Forbes soon sparked a great Scotland break from his own 22 though, with Allan again showing great pace to get play up to the Irish half. Millar then missed a penalty before a superb try by Gossman.

The flier ran past the Irish defenders in the midfield as if they were not there, thundering in under the posts from 30 metres out with Millar converting.

With flanker William Ryan then yellow carded for Ireland and Brown back on, the tie had swung back in Scotland’s favour.

That was until 14-man Ireland grabbed a try through number 8 Frank Cogan, off another successful maul, with Dunne converting with 10 minutes to go. However, two late Millar penalties saw the Scottish side home.

Referee: Thomas Foley (England)