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Digital Subscriptions > The Oban Times & Lochaber Times > 20th October 2016 > Scotland head coach gives his views on game against Ireland

Scotland head coach gives his views on game against Ireland

SCOTLAND head coach Ronald Ross goes into this season’s shinty/hurling international against Ireland on the back of two promising performances in 2015.

Ross, who is assisted by Lochaber boss Ally Ferguson, will pit his wits against Irish counter-parts Jeffrey Lynskey and his assistant Gregory O’Kane who are once again at the Irish helm.

Last year went well for the Scots. They recorded a superb 24-14 victory in the first test at the Bught Park. In truth, the damage was done in the first half when goals from Newtonmore’s Glen MacKintosh, Kilmallie’s Liam MacDonald and debutant Fraser Heath from Glenurquhart had Scotland 22-4 to the good at the break. It was a devastating start from the home side and although Ireland, with the wind advantage, rallied in the second half, the Scots were deserved winners.

Scotland went down 16-14 at Croke Park four weeks later but it took two late points from Shane Nolan and Eoin Price to eventually give Ireland the spoils.

This year sees a return to a one-off contest with the Marine Harvest Quaich at stake.

Ross, in his third year in charge of the national team, is clear about what his Scotland side needs to do to if they are to come out on top again in Inverness this year.

‘We try and get stronger every year and we want to build on our successful home performance last year,’ said Ross. ‘We will need to play our wide, expansive game and stay switched on at all times. It’s crucial to be sound defensively in these games. Steven MacDonald was good for us last year and it would be great to clone Rory Kennedy but unfortunately there’s only one of him. I have plenty options though and I can always use Finlay MacRae and all his experience in defence, whilst Daniel Cameron is another defensive option. You have to be strong at the back or you are in trouble.

‘We also need to show game intelligence at all times. We don’t always need to play at their pace. There are fine margins between scoring a point and losing a point. Any mistakes in this game are usually punished. We tailed off a bit in the second half last year so we want to avoid that happening again this year.’

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