Irish foil amazing Scottish recovery

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The Independent Online
Scotland produced an incredible comeback in the A international at Myreside yesterday but still came out second best, eventually losing out 34-33 to their Irish counterparts.

Down 20-7 at half-time Scotland twice took the lead but in an amazing finish, with the Scots leading 33-27 with just two minutes of normal time remaining, a pass by their stand-off, Ally Donaldson, was intercepted by Ireland's winger Niall Woods, who raced over for the try.

Michael Lynch's conversion gave Ireland their one-point win, and meant misery for Scotland who looked the better side for most of the game. They were made to pay after their weakness in the tackle gave away soft tries by Ireland's full-back Ciran Clarke and Woods' first.

Their troubles continued in the second half when Graeme Burns' kick was charged down and a lucky bounce allowed the flanker, Eddie Halvey, to score Ireland's third easy try.

Ireland's other try was scored by Niall Hogan from a whirlwind start by his forwards and good driving play by the back row.

For Scotland, their centre Cameron Murray celebrated his first game with two tries and there were two touchdowns for his fellow centre, Ron Eriksson, dropped from the national side. despite scoring against England at Twickenham a month ago.

Scotland's other try came from John Kerr with Donaldson converting four of their tries but the Currie stand-off missed a long-range penalty that could have won the game.

The earlier Under-21 international between the countries was a much more clear-cut affair with Ireland winning 31-0.

The Scots were outplayed up front by an Ireland pack that scrummaged powerfully, worked well in the line-out and in open play showed exemplary handling skills.

Ireland's backs were also a cut above their Scottish counterparts, their swift handling, quick running and ease on the ball.

Ireland led 11-0 at half-time thanks to two penalties by Ronan O'Gara and a try by Gervin Dempsey and against the stiff breeze in the second half they adapted well by using their strong forwards in close formation to gain territorial advantage.

Sheldon Coulter scored three minutes into the second half and Scotland's misery was compounded when Ireland scored two pushover tries, the first attributed to O'Gara and the second to their scrum-half Stephen Bell.

Right on full-time Emmet Farrell, on as a substitute, emphasised Ireland's superiority with his side's fifth try.