Scotland Club XV v Ireland Club XV
Scotland Club XV hosted Ireland Club XV in the first leg of the Dalriada Cup on Friday afternoon at Netherdale after a frozen pitch at Myreside on Friday afternoon forced a change of venue.
The match began under blue skies and sunshine at the ground where Scotland had lifted last year's trophy.
Aidan Moynihan gave Ireland an early lead with two penalties, as the visitors gained momentum within the first five minutes.
Currie Chieftains Gregor Hunter registered Scotland’s first points through a penalty and had the opportunity to draw level a few moments later, but a long-range effort fell just short of the posts.
The first try of the game came when Hunter was shown a yellow card for a high tackle with Ireland taking full advantage of the resulting penalty. Connor Kindregan collecting from the maul to dive over the line. The kick was successful by Moynihan and Ireland now held a 10-point lead.
Another penalty came Scotland’s way on the half-hour mark, and with Hunter still in the bin, Ayr’s Paddy Dewhirst stepped up to slot the kick to bring the Scots to within a converted try away from their opponents going into the break.
Half Time Scotland 6 – 13 Ireland
It was an encounter where clear opportunity were few and far between. A good run by Murdo McAndrew broke the Irish line but didn’t have any support to off-load for a certain score as the Irish defence regrouped.
Moynihan connected well with another Irish penalty just inside the Scotland half, striking the upright before going over, although the lead was soon reduced with the returning Hunter putting another penalty through the sticks.
The visitors finally put the game beyond doubt with six minutes left after some sustained pressure on the Scottish five metre line. It was Luke Cahill, named as Player of the Match, who would go over in the corner, before a fine kick out wide by Michael Brown was successful.
The visitors successfully saw out the physical contest as the referee blew the full-time whistle, with Ireland earning a 9-23 win in the Borders.
At full-time Scotland Club XV Coach Rob Chrystie said, “I think when we look at that we had a few opportunities there, and at this level if you don’t take those opportunities, they’re gone.
You’ve got to give credit to Ireland, they’re very good in that midfield, but there was a bit hesitancy from us at times and we’ll look at that.
There’s plenty there to go on and be confident that if we get it right [in the return leg], we can give ourselves the opportunity to come back with the trophy.”
Scotland Club XV: Patrick Dewhirst, Kyle Rowe, Robert Kay, Robbie Nelson, Craig Gossman, Gregor Hunter, Murdo McAndrew, Shawn Muir, Michael Liness, Steven Longwell, Hamilton Burr, Ruaridh Leishmann, Blair McPherson, Jack McClean, Peter McCallym (capt), Fergus Scott, Gary Strain, Struan Cessford, Tommy Spinks, Iain Wilson, Andrew Simmers, Stuart Edwards, Patrick Anderson.
Ireland Club XV: Eamonn Mills, Daniel McEvoy, Niall Kenneally (capt), Matt D’Arcy, Jack Keating, Aidan Moynihan, John Poland, Cronan Gleeson, Liam Cronin, Ian Prendiville, Brian Hayes, Conor Kindregan, Michael Melia, Joe McSwiney, Luke Cahill, John Sutton, Tom O’Reilly, Andy Keating, Jack O’Sullivan, Michael Noone, Alan Bennie, Callum Smith, Michael Brown.