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Ireland's young guns maintain winning ways with confident showing

Scotland 5-24 Ireland

By Alan Lorimar

Ireland's young guns continued on their winning ways as they followed up their vic­tory over England by comfort­ably dispatching Scotland at the Netherdale ground on the Scottish Borders.

The young Irish side were always in control of the game and notably in the forward bat­tle, even more crucial last night in conditions of strong wind and rain. The backs too showed their skills and frequently punc­tured the Scotland defence, with thrilling running from centre Liam Turner, the man of the match.

Ireland also defended strongly, denying the Scots chances to tilt at the try line with trenchant tackling. But it was the go-forward play of the back row, reminiscent of Joe Schmidt's side, that was the difference between the two teams.

The visitors, playing with a strong wind, made a shaky start by kicking the ball dead but they soon made amends with powerful driving forward play that ultimately resulted in a penalty under the posts and an easy three points for Harry Byrne.

Then after full back Jake Flannery had put the Scots on the back foot with a long kick upfield Ireland attacked the home line. Scott Penny was held up over the Scotland line but minutes later hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin burrowed over leaving Byrne with a sim­ple conversion.

The Scots, however, produced their own attacking efforts and twice threatened the Ireland line only for hooker Ewan Ashman to lose possession from a driving maul and for wing JackBlain to be denied a touchdown after a brave tackle from Jonathan Wren.

But with their defence able to contain a lively Ireland back division and with the prospect of playing into the wind in the second half, the Scots were perhaps not overly worried at trailing 10-0 at the break.

Despite facing the elements, Ireland continued to dominate both territory and possession and after repeatedly battering the Scotland defence they finally made their second half breakthrough when the abrasive John Hodnett crashed over from short range, Byrne converting for a 17-0 lead.

Scotland finally received a reward for their efforts when from a lineout five metres from the Irish line, the home forwards mauled effectively for skipper Conor Boyle to dive over for his side's only try of the game, replacement Nathan Cham­berlain missing the conversion, however.

Ireland hit back effectively, controlling the closing stages and on the final whistle claimed their third try when Wren out­paced the defence to touch down under the posts giving Bryne , for the fourth time in the game another straightfor­ward conversion to seal their win.

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