Senior Shinty/Hurling International Series Decider
Sunday, October 28th, 2012 at 10:34AM
Scotland’s hopes of securing the 2012 Shinty/Hurling series trophy were extinguished at Cusack Park in Ennis on Saturday as John Meyler’s Irish hurlers offered a lesson in finishing.
The Scots traveled to County Clare hopeful that they could overturn the 6 point deficit from leg one in Inverness and the 3-1 series lead held by the green and whites.
Despite a dream start, when Caberfiedh’s Kevin Bartlett struck a point over the uprights in only 10 seconds, Scotland fell well short on a day where Ireland displayed their class.
The 51-23 final scoreline and the 6-2 series conclusion left the Scots with many questions to ponder.
Nevertheless, manager Drew McNeil believes Scotland’s Shinty clubs will ultimately benefit from what was, otherwise, a testing afternoon.
“We had quite a few chances early in the game but the ball would not settle or we couldn’t get a short swing and the Irish smothered us a bit.
“That is a very good Irish team, though. There was so much class and so much pace. We had to go for it because, when they got their goals early, you can’t chip away with frees and single points, you must go for goals.
“I just hope the players go back to their clubs and take something from this. It shows what can happen if players work and train harder because that was a high standard of play.
“Ireland set a benchmark and it is good for our guys to learn, not just from good Shinty players, but also to take things from the game of hurling.”
Bartlett was a stand-out in the highland capital in leg one and he did his growing reputation little harm with another excellent display.
His point over the bar early on may have set Scotland up to eat into Ireland’s lead but things did not turn out that way.
Ireland’s ability to run with the ball stuck to their hurleys proved testing for Scotland’s defenders.
As a result, Ireland managed to net five 5-point goals in the first half through Patrick Maher, Shane Dooley (3 goals) and Brendan Murtagh.
Dooley was identified by the Scots as chief danger man and he proved that on a prolific afternoon. Ireland also scored in the first half through strikes over the posts from Seamus Callanan of Tipperaray (4 points) and Murtagh (2 points).
Scotland briefly rallied before half time. Bartlett, who saw his five point effort saved on the line, managed to hit a single point over the posts.
Then Finlay MacRae of Kinlochshiel found a way to Ireland’s net from a direct hit.
At half-time it was 31-7 to Ireland and Scotland could have little complaint.
Like Inverness, the second half was better for the dark blues. Bartlett was again impressive, finding space on the left to flash two goals into the corner of the Irish rigging.
Kinlochshiel’s Keith McRae also found the scoring touch with a point over the bar and an injury time goal.
But Ireland maintained their tempo. Second half goals came from Barry McFall, Murtagh and Callanan.
Dooley’s hitting was clinical and he took a further 3 points. Paudie Reilly (1) and Murtagh (1), completed their roll call of marksmen.
Scotland can only hope for better in 2013.