A LATE try from captain Pete McCallum secured a draw for the Scotland Club XV aganst their Irish counterparts at Energia Park (aka Donnybrook) in Dublin last night, which was not enough to retain the Dalriada Cup, but did represent an impressive turnaround in fortunes for Rob Chrystie’s team after losing 9-23 at home in the first leg just seven days ago.
“That was a massive improvement,” agreed head coach Chrystie, after the game. “If we’re being honest, we were all pretty frustrated after the first game because we felt like we hadn’t really fired a shot despite being on our home patch, so to come to Dublin and take on a good Irish side who wanted to put on a show for their fans by steamrollering us, and to out-score them by three tries to one, is pretty pleasing.”
Scotland raced into the lead when Craig Gossman broke then sent Robbie Nelson over with less than 40 second on the clock. Gregor Hunter added the conversion.
The hosts bounced back, building pressure throughout the remainder of the half, and getting their reward through two Aiden Moynihan penalties which made it just a one-point game at the break.
Conor Kindergarten rumbled over for Ireland’s only try of the night just before the hour mark, with Moynihan adding the conversion and a third penalty a few minutes later, which appeared to take the game out of Scotland’s reach.
But the players in blue didn’t see it that way, and when an incisive counter-attack ended with Kyle Rowe grounding on the left-flank, it was game-on.
Moynihan edged Ireland back to seven points ahead with his fourth penalty of the night, but a late surge by the Scots ended with McCallum going over and hunter’s conversion tied the match.
Ireland: E Mills; D McEvoy (J Keating 68), N Kenneally, M D’Arcy, M Brown; A Moynihan (C Smith 68), J Poland (A Bennie 51); T O’Reilly (C Gleeson 66), J Sutton (L Cronin 78), I Prendiville (A Coyle 66), B Hayes, C Kindregan (J O’Sullivan 66), M Melia, D Walsh (J Murphy 66), L Cahill.
Scotland: C Gossman (J Forbes 66); P Anderson, C Jackson, R Nelson, K Rowe; G Hunter, M McAndrew (K Barreto 66); S Muir, M Liness (F Renwick 73), S Longwell, H Burr, B Macpherson, J Hill (J McLean 54), I Wilson (R Leishman 73), P McCallum.
Referee: Luc Ramos (France)
Scotland: Tries: Nelson, Rowe, McCallum; Con: Hunter 2.
Ireland: Tries: Kindregan; Con: Moynhan; Pen: Moynihan 4.
Scoring sequence (Scotland first): 0-5; 0-7; 3-7; 6-7 (h-t) 11-7; 13-7; 16-7; 16-12; 19-12; 19-17; 19-19.
Yellow cards –