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Ireland earn hard-fought win without trying | Print |  Email
Monday, 13 March 2006

By Darragh Cox

Ireland failed to break the Scottish tryline but still had enough firepower to see off the Scots and keep alive their hopes of a triple crown success. The hosts won the last Six Nations game to be played at Lansdowne Road before it is redeveloped, by five penalties to three, with Munster out-half Ronan O'Gara kicking all five of Munster's scores and Chris Paterson responding with three for the visitors, who had entered the game level with the Irish at the top of the table thanks to wins over France and England.

If Eddie O'Sullivan's men are to claim a triple crown, they too will need to overcome the considerable challenge of England next Saturday. If they are to do so they will need to make their possession count, a trait absent from last Saturday's game. The statistics show the Irish had twice as much time on the ball than their visitors yet they never dominated on the scoreboard and only the accurate kicking of O'Gara in testing wet conditions, seperated the sides.

Ireland came close to a try, and should really have got one, when Geordan Murphy managed to put Andrew Trimble in possession on the left wing. The Ulster man made a dive for the line but a brilliant last ditch tackle by full-back Hugo Southwell took the winger out of touch and Ireland never got as close again, despite spending large periods in the Scottish half.

Nevertheless there was plenty of positives in Ireland's display. Paul O'Connell was passed fit to play during the week and he had another 'stormer' of a game in the lineout for the hour that he lasted.

Elsewhere Brian O'Driscoll and Jerry Flannery both showed courage in breaks for the line, despite being held up short; David Wallace again produced an excellent workmanlike display, while Peter Stringer got the home crowd singing by chasing down one second-half kick and forcing play up to the Scottish '22'.

Ireland took a 12-9 lead into the second-half with O'Gara landing four out of five efforts and Paterson proving flawless with three attempts. The same difference came out of the second-half, with O'Gara's shaky penalty towards the hour mark proving the only score. The Corkman had a chance to make certain of the win with a last minute penalty. He failed with that attempt, but Ireland succeeded in claiming the victory.

Ireland: Geordan Murphy; Shane Horgan, Brian O'Driscoll (c), Gordon D'Arcy, Andrew Trimble; Ronan O'Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery, John Hayes; Paul O'Connell, Malcolm O'Kelly; Denis Leamy, David Wallace, Simon Easterby.

Replacements: Rory Best, Simon Best, Eoin Reddan, Donncha O'Callaghan, Mick O'Driscoll, David Humphreys, Girvan Dempsey.

Scotland: Hugo Southwell; Chris Paterson, Marco Di Rollo, Andy Henderson, Sean Lamont; Dan Parks, Mike Blair; Gavin Kerr, Dougie Hall, Bruce Douglas; Nathan Hines, Scott Murray; Jason White, Simon Taylor, Allister Hogg.

Replacements: Scott Lawson, Craig Smith, Alastair Kellock, Jon Petrie, Chris Cusiter, Gordon Ross, Simon Webster.

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An Irish amateur team made up from players from the All-Ireland League enjoyed a three-try, 17-point defeat of an amateur Scottish side in Donnybrook on Friday night. The visitors went ten-nil up but a try from captain David Quinlan got the Irish ball rolling. The second try arrived before the break courtesy of a wonderful solo try from Buccaneers' Conor Hartigan. Gareth Stenson converted both tries and added a penalty as Ireland turned over 17-10 ahead. Clontarf's Niall O'Brien added a third try towards the end with Stenson adding another eight points to his total in the second period.

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