Ireland’s Club XV retained the Dal Riada Cup, beating their Scottish counterparts 26-21 at Anglesea Road last night.
In an entertaining game played in ideal conditions, it was Ireland who opened the scoring with a penalty from Lansdowne out-half Craig Ronaldson after 10 minutes.
The game sparked into life on 19 minutes when a turnover in Irish territory was fed through multiple pairs of hands before Ronaldson was hauled down short of the Scottish 22. Three phases later a half-break by Killian Lett set the ball up for flanker and man-of the-match Barry O’Mahony to crash over. Ronaldson’s conversion struck the left-hand upright.
He made no mistake in converting O’Mahony’s second just before half-time however, the flanker having sprinted clear from just outside the 22.
In the meantime, some tidy interplay between the Scottish back three, coupled with loose Irish tackling, culminated in full-back Fraser Thomson sprinting clear to score. Out-half Lee Millar converted impressively from the right-hand side.
The second half was a to-and-fro affair, which saw Ireland again score first. A well-placed grubber from Ronaldson set up a scrum inside the Scottish 22. The ball was taken from the base and spun out to full-back Roger McBurney, who drove over near the right touchline. Ronaldson was again narrowly wide with his conversion attempt.
Seemingly stung into action, the Scottish introduced a number of substitutes who provided their team with a renewed impetus. A shift in emphasis saw Scotland relying on their forwards to make headway and they were rewarded for their efforts with two tries scored from close range by captain Seán Crombie and lock Ross McKay. Millar converted both.
Nerves were eased somewhat with a Ronaldson penalty after 71 minutes and the hosts who held on.
Scorers for Ireland: Tries: B O’Mahony 2, R McBurney. Pens: C Ronaldson 3. Con: C Ronaldson.
Scorers for Scotland: Tries: F Thomson, S Crombie, R McKay. Cons: L Millar 3.
IRELAND CLUB XV: R McBurney; C Aherne, K Lett, M Kelliher, C Quinn, C Ronaldson, G Hurley, R Sweeney, G Slattery, C Condon, P Donnellan, F Walsh, S Crawford (capt), B O’Mahony, F Cogan.
Replacements: F Cogan for H Hogan (38), L Óg Murphy for F Walsh (48), R Byrne for G Slattery (60), B Keeshan for C Ronaldson (71), H McGrath for S Crawford (77).
SCOTLAND CLUB XV: F Thomson; C Anderson, R Curle, D Kelbrick, D Fife, L Millar, R Sneddon, J Cox, S Crombie (capt), A Brown, S Sutherland, R McKay, G Dodds, R Colhoun, R Weston.
Replacements: N Dymock for J Cox, R Holborn for A Brown (both 50), R Hawkins for S Sutherland, A Rose for G Dodds (both 60), M Ward for R Sneddon, F Brown for S Crombie, D Gilmour for D Kelbrick (all 64).
Referee: Luke Pearse (RFU).
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