Ireland head coach Paul Cunningham was bitterly disappointed but still proud of the Irish effort after his side had fallen 13 points down almost before they could breathe.
“Bad start for sure, but we recovered and came back. Still, we had plenty of chances and didn’t take them so we can’t have a major complaint. Listen, no disgrace, the lads put in a huge effort after a terrible start and I couldn’t criticise the effort.”
First blood to Scotland through a Lee Armstrong penalty after five minutes, the third penalty conceded, one of them at least disputed as Scotland worked their way out of their own territory close enough to nail it. Just two minutes later, the Scots were further ahead with the opening try from Jack Turley and Armstrong converted.
Ireland almost created a try in 14 minutes but were called back for offside from the chip through by Scott Deasy, penalised and then penalised a further 10 metres by Welsh referee Dewi Phillips who did nothing to endear himself to the home fans in that opening period of play with six penalties to one awarded against the home side.
Armstrong made no mistake with a 17th minute kick to secure a 13-0 lead without Ireland ever having shown their ability to put some pressure on.
At last, after an interception from Neil Cronin, Ireland stretched the Scottish defence and Deasy’s cross kick was enough to cause consternation in the Scottish ranks, Danny Riordan getting the touch down in the 22nd minute.
And Ireland grabbed a second try from winger Mark Roche to cut the deficit to three points and put his side right back in the contest. Ireland piled on the pressure and were a couple of clever passes away from another try but, all in all, they would have been happy with the half time score given what happened early in the match.
Armstrong and Deasy exchanged penalties early in the second-half and Ireland upped the tempo again, with skipper Matt D’Arcy making a suberb break that nearly lead to a third Irish try.
But they had to be satisfied with playing catch-up, Deasy missed a penalty chance before Armstrong grabbed another penalty to give the Scots a 19-13 lead in injury time and that was crucial
D Riordan (Old Belvedere), J McInerney (Garryowen), S Murphy (UCD), M D’Arcy (Clontarf, captain), M Roche (Lansdowne), S Deasy (Lansdowne), N Cronin (Garryowen), I Prendiville (Lansdowne), M Abbott (Cork Constitution), G Sweeney (Cork Constitution), C Ruddock (St Mary’s College), P Donnellan (Lansdowne), C Butterworth (Lansdowne), P Pritchard (Ballynahinch), T Ryan (Clontarf).
A Lloyd (Dublin University) for Cronin (55), J Fitzgerald (Dolphin) for Butterworth, B McGovern (St Mary’s) for Prendiville (58), D Lavery (Old Belvedere) for Sweeney (58), P Finlay (Dublin University) for Abbott, C Smyth (Ballymena) for Donnellan, R McBurney for Riordan), J McDermott (Dublin University) for Deasy (all 76)
F Thomson (Melrose), S Pecquer (Melrose), R Curle (Ayr, captain), B McGroarty (Glasgow Hawks), J Edmunds (Boroughmuir), L Armstrong (Hawick), P Boyer (Glasgow Hawks), G Hunter (Ayr), R Graham (Hawick), N Beavon (Melrose), R McAlpine (Ayr), L Carmichael (Melrose), J Turley (Heriot’s), W Bordill (Ayr), P McCallum (Ayr).
M Liness (Heriot’s), A Hamilton (Heriot’s), J Bhatti (Melrose), R Nimmo (Heriot’s), N Irvine-Hess (Melrose), G Graham (Gala), C Ferguson (Heriot’s), J Helms (Currie).
D Phillips (Wales)..