Ireland win inaugral AIB Club International

Ireland 30 Scotland 13, Donnybrook

First half tries from Buccaneers duo Conor Hartigan and David Quinlan steered Ireland to a 30-13 victory over Scotland in tonight’s inaugural AIB Club International.

Mick Galwey’s Irish side, made up of players from the AIB League, took the spoils in this unique Donnybrook duel despite a shaky start.

Having gone 10-0 down, the power of the Irish tight five, with Dublin University hooker Matt Crockett in electric form, gradually saw the home side take control.

A ruck infringement allowed Glasgow Hawks full back Michael Adamson kick Scotland in front from an eighth-minute penalty.

The Scots soon regained possession and pressed their lively backs into action with scrum half Calum Cusiter, elder brother of Scotland and Lions star Chris Cusiter, particularly prominent.

A 13th-minute lineout steal paved the way for the visitors’ only try. Boroughmuir flanker Angus Martyn gobbled up an Irish throw, laid the ball on a plate for Cusiter and Adamson, who, despite being tackled, was still able to offload for Melrose winger Mark Robertson to glide over.

Stung by that try, which Adamson converted, the Irish pack stepped it up a gear. They got their just reward on 20 minutes when flanker Hartigan stole a lineout at the rear and he burst through into the Scottish 22, stepping off his left and inside the tackle of Adamson, to go in behind the posts.

Dungannon’s Gareth Steenson converted and dinked over his first penalty on the half-hour to level matters at 10-all.

Struggling in the set piece, the Scots saw their share of possession dwindle away. They had a nightmare finish to the first half when, two minutes into injury-time, the Irish scrum got up a head of steam and captain Quinlan controlled the ball well at his feet to dot down his try. Steenson converted for a 17-point turnaround.

Adamson and Steenson traded penalties coming up to the hour mark as the game went through a scrappy spell.

UCC full back Denis Hurley put in a thundering hit on Rory Couper when the Scottish winger looked to have a run-in on the left flank.

Steenson’s third penalty on 71 minutes – the former Ireland Under-21 captain’s fifth successful kick – then gave the Irish a degree of comfort to see out an historic win. A converted try for Clontarf winger Niall O’Brien, who did well to collect a cross-field kick from replacement scrum half Gerry Hurley (Garryowen), was the icing on the cake for Galwey’s charges.

IRELAND: Denis Hurley (UCC); Niall O'Brien (Clontarf), Stephen Grissing (UCD), Breffni O’Donnell (Clontarf), Derek Keane (Clontarf); Gareth Steenson (Dungannon), Fiach O'Loughlin (Clontarf); Niall Conlon (Dublin University), Matt Crockett (Dublin University), Simon Shawe (Ballymena), Marc Warburton (Dublin University), Alan Maher (Lansdowne), Peter Malone (Garryowen), Conor Hartigan (Buccaneers), David Quinlan (Buccaneers) (capt).

Replacements used: Ciaran O’Boyle (Garryowen) for Grissing, Gerry Hurley (Garryowen) for O’Loughlin (both 51 mins), Kevin Corrigan (Lansdowne) for Crockett, Robert Sweeney (Clontarf) for Shawe (both 65), David Delaney (Shannon) for Steenson (74)

Replacements: Kevin Corrigan (Lansdowne), Robert Sweeney (Clontarf), Rory McGrath (Dolphin), Kevin Croke (UCD), Gerry Hurley (Garryowen), David Delaney (Shannon), Ciaran O'Boyle (Garryowen).

SCOTLAND: Michael Adamson (Glasgow Hawks); Mark Robertson (Melrose), Jamie Murray (Melrose), Stewart Smith (Glasgow Hawks), Rory Couper (Boroughmuir); Murray Strang (Glasgow Hawks), Calum Cusiter (Boroughmuir); Bruce McNeil (Hawick), Wayne Mitchell (Melrose), Moray Low (Aberdeen GSFP), Bruce MacFarlane (Stirling County), Richie Maxton (Glasgow Hawks), Tam McVie (Heriot's) (capt), Angus Martyn (Boroughmuir), Andy Dunlop (Biggar).

Replacements: David Cunningham (Boroughmuir), Elliott McLaren (Biggar), Sandy Warnock (Glasgow Hawks), Alistair Jamie Murray (Melrose), Alasdhair McFarlane (Ayr), Steven Duffy (Glasgow Hawks), Richard Borthwick (Stewart's-Melville FP).

AIB Man of the match: Matt Crockett (Dublin University)

HT: Ireland 17 Scotland 10; Attendance: 3,000

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)

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