Full Match Report
On Saturday Dundee International Sports Centre played host to the first ever wheelchair rugby league international to be held in Scotland, with the hosts taking on Ireland in the first leg of the Celtic Cup.
The game started with Ireland getting the ball and immediately George Hill was involved in the thick of the action and it wasn't long before he put the first points on the board for Ireland, leaving the Scots looking shell shocked.
It didn't take long before Ireland scored again through some great play to beat Scotland on their wings to put the Irish ahead by 28 points, with the game now looking like a whitewash Scotland seemed to change their approach in defence and the game started to tighten up.
After the change in approach Scotland’s Michael Grant scored on his debut which was converted by captain Graeme Stewart to the delight of the home crowd. Just before half-time Grant again got on the end of a great attacking kick from Scotland to cross the try line taking the half-time score to Scotland 10 – 28 Ireland.
Both teams started strong in the second half with good attacking play by both sides only to be cancelled out by aggressive defence. Ireland then scored quick back to back tries followed by Scotland which created a real spectacle for the crowd, Tom McCarthy and Michael Grant both team-mates at Gravesend picking up more points against each other on their debuts.
With only 10 minutes to go Scotland looked the stronger of both teams with back to back tries to take the game within 12 points, however the comeback seemed to end quickly as Scotland tired and Ireland’s Phil Roberts took control of the game which resulted to 10 minutes of tries for Ireland with Scotland unable to answer. Ireland finished the game off the stronger of both nations and deserved winners in the first leg of the Celtic Cup.
Following the game Scotland coach Jamie Seery said “we are delighted with the overall event it was better than we could have ever hoped. During the game we had a patchy performance however played some of the best rugby we ever have, which is meanly down to the coaching going on at clubs which means when the players come to the national squad it makes our job a lot easier. We had a poor start to the game which we think is down to us using the wrong tactics and we held off too long before changing this however when we did it was a different game. We will now focus on preparing for the second leg in Blackpool next month.”
Scotland and Ireland will next face off in Blackpool on the 23rd May to determine who lifts the Celtic Cup.
Graeme Stewart, Stephen Carling, Michael Mellon, Gavin Dobson, Ian McKeen, Michael Grant
Josh McEvoy, Phil Roberts, Damian McCabe, George Hill, Tom Spencer, Tom McCarthy, Stuart Walker