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Ireland win the Marine Harvest Shinty/Hurling International

Tipperary’s Brendan Maher was Ireland’s hero as his 75th minute goal ensured Ireland took Senior Marine Harvest Hurling-Shinty International honours at Bught Park, Inverness this afternoon.

Short grass and an ideal day weather wise was expected to favour the hosts as they tried to overcome a five-point deficit following last Saturday’s first test, to take the Series overall.

Scotland started strongly and led by 1-6 to 0-0 after 33 minutes, but an excellent second half showing by Ireland, backed up with Maher’s late goal ensured Ireland captain Michael Rice lifted silverware after the game.

Drew McNeil’s charges weren’t keen to let down the large home support in the 2,000 strong attendance and quickly built up a head of steam.

Kevin Bartlett was in stirring former for Drew McNeil’s charges with four two-pointers for ground strikes from placed balls in the opening half.

Bartlett opened the scoring with a two-pointer from a free after 45 seconds, with former Shinty Player of the Year Finlay MacRae netting a seventh minute goal.

Bartlett continued to punish Ireland from placed balls as two further two-pointers pushed Scotland to a nine-point lead in the 33rd minute.

Indeed Scotland should have been further ahead at this stage, but Somhairle MacDonald’s 24th minute goal was disallowed because he kicked the ball to the net.

Ireland bounced back through the efforts of Laois’s Willie Hyland and Carlow’s Craig Doyle, with a goal from Offaly’s Joe Bergin cutting the deficit to six-points at the break.

Hyland, captain Michael Rice and Maher impressed on the restart, with Scotland under huge pressure defensively.

Kildare goalkeeper Paul Dermody, Antrim duo Cormac Donnelly and Arron Graffin were forced to defend hard throughout as the hosts continued to pile on pressure.

Scotland led by 1-11 to 1-7 with 25 minutes remaining following a Gary Innes point, but the Highlanders would fail to score for the remainder of this game.

Rice and Hyland added points before Maher’s late goal after a long range free deep in the heart of the Irish defence was sent to the back of the Scotland net past Gavin Stobbart to ensure Irish joy.

Final series score: Ireland 5 Scotland 1

Scorers for Ireland: W Hyland (4f) 0-6; J Bergin, B Maher 1-0 each; M Rice 0-2; C Doyle 0-1.

Scorers for Scotland: K Barlett (3f, 1 s/l) 0-10; F MacRae 1-0; G Innes 0-1.

IRELAND: P Dermody; D Kennedy, A Graffin, C DOnnelly; J Doran, B Maher, K Divilly; E Nolan, E Price; R Hanniffy, M Rice, W Hyland; B Murtagh, J Bergin. Interchange Subs: C Doyle, D Maguire, T Murnane, C Doyle.

SCOTLAND: S Mackintosh; N MacDonald, N Campbell, J Barr; I MacDonald, F MacRae, D Cameron; S Nicholson, J MacDonald, G Innes; K MacRae, K Bartlett; J Stewart, R MacDonald. Interchange Subs: M Sproule, R MacLeod, S McDonald, A Corrigan, G Stobbart.

REFEREE: David Mitchell (Scotland)

By Coilin Duffy

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