Gillam (5, 65), Grix (15), Finn (38)
Fisher (7), K Henderson (42), A Henderson (44), Ferguson (50, 70), Carter (55), Stringer (61), Wardle (74)
EUROPEAN CUP GAME 6
A second half flurry from Scotland saw them pick up their first victory of the Alitalia European Cup while handing Ireland the Wooden Spoon. Ireland got off to a flying start with John Gillam latching onto a superb Scott Grix cross field kick to open the scoring. McNally added the extras to give the home side a promising 6-0 lead.
However, Scotland fought back when captain Ben Fisher forced his way over only for Lee Paterson to miss the conversion. The Irish put the pressure back on straight away and a jinking run from Grix saw him touchdown and McNally added the extras as Ireland looked comfortable at 12-4. Grix continued to show fine form and a deep kick from the stand off forced a goal line drop out.
The talismanic captain then came close to making Ireland’s third try when his pass put Simon Finnigan over the line only for Thierry Alibert to pull it back after deeming the ball was forward.
Scotland again fought back but strong defence from Andy Kelly’s side kept them out and that was rewarded when, with just two minutes left in the half, Liam Finn sold the Scottish defence a mesmerising dummy and strolled in between the posts. McNally once more added the conversion to leave the score at 18-4 at half time.
Scotland coach Steve McCormack gave his side a rousing team talk at the break and they came out all guns blazing. With just two minutes gone Kevin Henderson found his way over Ireland’s try line to narrow the gap to just ten points. His namesake Andrew did the same just moments later when he found a gap in the Irish defence and with Lee Paterson knocking over the conversion the Scots drew to within four points of the hosts.
Scotland were beginning to build pressure and a deep kick towards Gillam coupled with a great chase forced a knock on inside Ireland’s twenty metre line. From the scrum, man of the match Dale Ferguson drew the sides level after picking the ball from the back of the scrum and fighting off three tackles; Paterson’s conversion putting his side in front for the first time.Brendon Lindsay then pulled off a master stroke with a fantastic 40/20 into the Irish corner once more giving Scotland prime field position.
The stand off then topped that off with a pass which put full back Brett Carter over to widen the Scottish lead. Ireland were on the ropes and Mitch Stringer landed the killer blow, the big prop crashing over the Irish line to make the scoreline 18-32 to the visitors. The Wolfhounds did fight back but Jamie O’Callaghan lost possession with a two on one over lap in hand.
They did manage to pull out another score when Gillam bagged his second after a long pass from Finn put him through. However, that was to be the last the Irish crowd had to cheer as two more tries from Ferguson and Joe Wardle killed off any hopes of a comeback.
Greg McNally, Tim Bergin, James Haley, Jamie O’Callaghan, John Gillam, Scott Grix, Liam Finn, Ryan Boyle, Bob Beswick, Brett McDermott, Simon Finnigan, Simon Grix, Luke Ambler. Subs: Joe Taylor, Wayne Kerr, Matt Ashe, Matthew Fox
Brett Carter, Dave Arnott, Rob Lunt, Kevin Henderson, Joe Wardle, Brendon Lindsay, Lee Paterson, Oliver Wilkes, Ben Fisher, Mitch Stringer, Alex Szostak, Sam Barlow, Dale Ferguson. Subs: Andrew Henderson, Neil Lowe, Paddy Coupar, Jack Howieson
STATS PROVIDED BY OPTA