Ronald Ross hopes for U21 Scottish win in Ireland
Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 at 11:03AM
New Scotland U21 manager Ronald Ross MBE has called on his side to restore pride this Friday (26th) as the Scots starlets face Ireland’s youngsters in County Clare.
This will be the Kingussie and Scotland legend’s first match in charge since succeeding Donnie Martin and he is under no illusions how difficult it will be.
Scotland’s youths have come unstuck in recent years against their hurling counterparts and lost last year’s international in Inverness 17-8.
However, Ross has built his side around captain and relative Rory Kennedy of Newtonmore, the sport’s young player of the year in 2011.
He also feels his squad is as strong as it has been for some time.
After six training sessions and a fact-finding visit to the senior Marine Harvest International last Saturday, he is hoping for tangible improvement.
“We have to try to close the gap and set a benchmark,” said the coach- the first Scotsman in any sport to score 1000 goals.
“The gulf recently has been big and we need to put in a better performance because the Irish take this fixture very seriously.
“I’ve had someone researching their side and the Irish breakthrough hurler of the year is in their squad as well as forwards playing for the likes of Kilkenny senior team.
“We know how difficult it will be but, for me, we have guys who all deserve to be playing because they are starring at senior level for their clubs and there are a few who could be in the Scotland senior team.
“Rory Kennedy, our captain, is probably the main defender at Newtonmore and Greg Matheson scored loads of goals for Lovat in the Premiership.
“It has been a bit of a bugbear of mine that we haven’t been able to get our best players out at U-21 level but I feel we are closer to that this time.”
Scotland head into the unknown at the home of St Jospehs Doora Barefield GAA club in Gurteen on Friday evening as the match, which throws-in at 7pm, will be staged under floodlights.
It is not something the Scots have encountered before.
“We did one session under the lights at a rugby club in Inverness to try and get the players used to it because it will be new for us,” said Ross.
“All in all, we have had six sessions so the preparation couldn’t be greater. We have to go with a bit of confidence and belief and get a positive result.”
For further information on the Shinty/Hurling & Camogie International weekend in Ennis, click here.
PHOTO: Action from last year’s Under 21 International at Bught Park, Inverness.