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Digital Subscriptions > The Oban Times & Lochaber Times > 26th October 2017 > Scotland come out on top in a close encounter with the Irish

Scotland come out on top in a close encounter with the Irish

SCOTLAND made it four successive Marine Harvest shinty/ hurling international home wins when they defeated Ireland 18- 15 on Saturday October 21.

Marine Harvest shinty/hurling international

Scotland (2-12) 18

Ireland (0-15) 15

Scotland retained the Marine Harvest Quaich, beating Ireland 18-15 in their shinty/hurling international at The Bught Park, Inverness.

The players were led onto the field by Inverness Royal British Legion Pipe Band before they were introduced to Camanachd Association President John Barr, Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael, the GAA’s Frank Burke and Marine Harvest business support manager Steve Bracken ahead of the national anthems.

Scotland head coach Ronald Ross was delighted Rory Kennedy was able to start as the Newtonmore captain received treatment on his ankle injury at nearby Ross County Football Club right up to throw-up. Lovat’s Greg Matheson, who had been carrying a niggling injury, started on the bench. There were starting debuts in midfield for Newtonmore’s Michael Russell and Lovat’s Craig Mainland, whilst fellow debutants Daniel Grieve from Lovat and Kingussie’s Ryan Borthwick were on the bench.

Ireland co-managers William Maher and Conor Phelan, who led the Irish U21s to victory over their Scotland counter-parts last season, included four players from hurling’s elite with Tipperary’s James Barry starting in defence, whilst his Tipperary team-mate John McGrath, Cork’s Conor Lehane and Wexford’s Lee Chin provided a significant offensive threat. Recent heavy rain left the Bught Park pitch soft and greasy in parts, but it held up well throughout the game.

Ireland won the toss of the coin and opted to start with a blinding sun at their backs. Early exchanges saw Ireland’s John McGrath send the ball wide of the posts whilst Scotland’s Glen MacKintosh did likewise after he controlled a good ball forward from his Newtonmore club-mate Steven MacDonald.

Ireland’s John McGrath opened the scoring when he sent the ball over the bar from wide on the right. A Kevin Bartlett dead-ball between the posts from the Scotland right, on stand side, initially looked as if it had put the Scots ahead but it was later correctly ruled that the ball took a nick off Ireland defender Damian Healy’s hurly so the score was reduced to a single point.

Recent history shows the Irish, especially with so many debutants, to be slow starters in this fixture but a great solo run and single point from Conor Lehane put Ireland back in front. Kevin Bartlett put a twopoint chance wide before Andy O’Brien’s strike from wide on the right had the visitors 3-1 ahead.

Steven MacDonald, hitting into the sun, put a two-pointer from in front of the main stand wide with 12 minutes played. A double save from Enda Rowland kept the Scots out when he first stopped a low Kevin Bartlett shot before saving Roddy MacDonald’s strike from the left.

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