Rugby League: O'Connor leads the way

Scotland 10 Ireland 17
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IRELAND WON their first match at full international level, proving an altogether better drilled side in both attack and defence at Partick Thistle last night.

Helped by high-profile Irish-qualified players in Gary Connolly and their man of the match, Terry O'Connor, they tackled solidly and took their chances.

Although Ireland took the lead after only a minute, with a penalty from Tommy Martyn, Scotland dominated possession for much of the first half.

Ireland defended with tremendous determination, especially when Connolly got back to clear a clever kick from the Scottish prop, Joe Berry.

O'Connor, like Connolly appearing just a few days after finishing his commitments for Great Britain, was leading a strong Irish forward effort, but it was some slick ball movement in the backs that produced the only try of the first half.

Martyn found his former St Helens team-mate, Steve Prescott, coming into the line and Richard Smith finished the move by touching down. Ireland could have gone further ahead shortly before the break, but Brian Carney and Prescott were both stopped short.

Ireland nearly stretched their lead at the start of the second half when Carney's exciting run set up a good position, but Smith was given offside as he touched down Martyn's kick.

But then, after Prescott had begun the attack by fielding John Duffy's kick and running at the Scots, Martyn pursued his own kick for the second Irish try, which he again converted.

A run of eight successive penalties in Scotland's favour wore their opponents down, Duffy jinking his way over from Mike Dixon's pass and converting his own try to halve the lead.

The illusion that Scotland could claw their way back lasted only a few minutes before Ireland broke through again on the left for Smith to put Mark Forster in and Martin Crompton made the game safe with a drop goal eight minutes from time.

Logan Campbell's try after a run from his fellow New Zealander, P J Solomon, came too late for Scotland to avoid the wooden spoon in a tournament already won by France.

SCOTLAND: Penny (Warrington); Roach (Warrington), Campbell (Hull), Graham (Bradford), Arnold (Huddersfield); Orr (Huddersfield), Duffy (Warrington); D Shaw (Sheffield), Russell (Huddersfield), Berry (Huddersfield), Knox (Bradford), Solomon (Lancashire Lynx), Wainwright (Warrington). Substitutes used: Flowers (Castleford), Dixon (Hull KR), G Shaw (Oldham), Wilson (Linlithgow).

IRELAND: Prescott (Hull); Carney (Dublin Blues), Smith (Hull KR), Connolly (Wigan), Forster (Warrington); Martyn (St Helens), Crompton (Salford); O'Connor (Wigan), Lawless (Sheffield), McDermott (Leeds), Harmon (Bradford), Cassidy (Wigan), Burgess (Salford). Substitutes used: Eccles (Swinton), Child (Featherstone), Gray (Bangor Vikings), O'Sullivan (Dublin Blues).

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).