Ireland win Shinty series
IRELAND 2-9 SCOTLAND 1-11
Tipperary's Brendan Maher was the hero as his 75th minute goal ensured Ireland took home the senior Hurling-Shinty International honours at Bught Park, Inverness this afternoon.
Short grass and an ideal day weather-wise was expected to favour home side Scotland as they tried to overcome a five-point deficit from last Saturday's first Test.
The Scots started strongly and led by 1-6 to 0-0 after 33 minutes, but an excellent second half showing by Ireland, backed up by Maher's late goal, ensured Ireland captain Michael Rice lifted the trophy afterwards.
Drew McNeil's Scotland charges were not keen to let down the large home support in the 1,500-strong attendance and quickly built up a head of steam.
Kevin Bartlett was in stirring former for them with four two-pointers from placed balls in the opening half.
Bartlett opened the scoring with a two-pointer from a free after 45 seconds, with former Shinty Player of the Year Finlay MacRae netting a seventh minute goal.
Bartlett continued to punish Ireland from placed balls as two more successful efforts sent Scotland into a nine-point lead in the 33rd minute.
Indeed Scotland should have been further ahead at this stage, but Somhairle MacDonald's 24th-minute goal was disallowed because he kicked the ball into the net.
Ireland bounced back through the efforts of Laois' Willie Hyland and Carlow’s Craig Doyle, with a goal from Offaly ace Joe Bergin cutting the deficit to six points at the break.
Hyland, captain Michael Rice and Maher impressed on the restart, with Scotland now under huge pressure defensively.
But Kildare goalkeeper Paul Dermody and Antrim duo Cormac Donnelly and Arron Graffin were forced to defend hard throughout as the hosts continued to pile on pressure.
Scotland led by 1-11 to 1-7 with 25 minutes remaining following a Gary Innes point, but the Highlanders would fail to score for the remainder of this game.
Rice and Hyland added points as Ireland seized control of the game. Crucially, Maher found the net after his long range free evaded Gavin Stobbart and found the back of the Scottish net.
Scorers - Ireland: W Hyland 0-6 (0-4f), J Bergin, B Maher 1-0 each, M Rice 0-2, C Doyle 0-1
Scotland: K Barlett 0-10 (0-3f, 0-1sl), F MacRae 1-0, G Innes 0-1
IRELAND: P Dermody; D Kennedy, A Graffin, C Donnelly; J Doran, B Maher, K Divilly; E Nolan, E Price; R Hanniffy, M Rice, W Hyland; B Murtagh, J Bergin. Interchange Subs: C Doyle, D Maguire, T Murnane, C Doyle.
SCOTLAND: S Mackintosh; N MacDonald, N Campbell, J Barr; I MacDonald, F MacRae, D Cameron; S Nicholson, J MacDonald, G Innes; K MacRae, K Bartlett; J Stewart, R MacDonald. Interchange Subs: M Sproule, R MacLeod, S McDonald, A Corrigan, G Stobbart.
Referee: David Mitchell (Scotland)