The men in blue controlled the game throughout, racing away to a fine win featuring a second-half hat-trick by substitute Ian Gilmour.
Although they were missing a couple of key players, it was still a surprisingly disappointing display by an Ireland side who had recently won convincingly against England at Odsal. Scotland were forced into making five changes from the 20-man squad that beat England by a point, stand-off Gilmour returning in place of the injured Mike Benson, with wingers Dougie Thompson, Mark Webster and Andy McPhail all called up from the Student World Cup squad to make their first appearances at A level this season. Fife Lions prop Craig Stewart made his A team debut, stepping up after an impressive tour with the Development squad to Germany and Holland, and becoming the 30th player used by Scotland A in the tournament. A pre-match injury suffered by McPhail prevented him from coming off the bench.
Scotland looked dangerous from the off, bombing two opportunities on the overlap before veteran hooker Mark BURNS barged over from close range after Steve Deviney had gone close. From the re-start, Kieran EDDY broke away and raced 70m to score, Barry Edgar adding the goal for a 10-0 lead.
Ireland bounced back with a bout of pressure, Joe MANUEL missing woefully with one penalty attempt before converting another on the half hour mark. But a great break by Nick Surtees and some expansive football by Scotland allowed DEVINEY to blast through to touch down.
Edgar missed the conversion but the feel-good factor was washing around the sun-drenched Braidholm ground a minute later when Scotland scored a sensational try. Second rower Scott MacGillivray made a fine 50 metre burst, side-stepping his way past a marker before being felled by the full-back. From the next play, Scotland worked the ball from left to right and just as Edgar looked like going for the line, he sent in a delightfully-unexpected grubber which was brilliantly taken mid-air by Mark WEBSTER in the corner, EDGAR added a fine conversion for a 20-2 half-time lead.
As against England and Wales, Scotland were second best immediately after half time and were under the cosh. A penalty brought Ireland downfield and prop Mark PHELAN bounced off three tacklers to score on the left. But the pressure was relieved – and probably the game sealed – four minutes later. After Manuel had missed the kick to leave Ireland 14 points adrift, the Scots’ thrilling passing game appeared to have found no way through until GILMOUR produced a bit of magic. A chip and chase straight out of his box of tricks brought the crowd to their feet as he raced to the line. Edgar’s goal made it 26-6 with still half an hour to play.
Steve NOLAN narrowed the gap when he bundled over from close range for the Wolfhounds and Brian O’LEARY converted, but Scotland again responded immediately with a bizarre try. Andy Todd was almost over on the right but the ball was kept alive by a punch as it moved to the left where WEBSTER snaffled another four pointer.
Scotland had the game sewn up even before EDDY went in on the left for his second try and as the game degenerated, a Deviney intercept paved the way for GILMOUR to waltz in for a splendid try on the break. Al Stewart somehow missed the kick.
With three minutes left, Ireland’s Mike BRODIE went in from close range to make it 40-16 but in the final seconds, GILMOUR completed his hat-trick with a wonderful 90 metre breakaway and sprint for the line. Fittingly, the last kick of the game went to Edgar for a simple conversion in front of the posts. Astonishingly, the full-back playing on his home ground, managed to hit the upright. His embarrassment did not last long as the whistle went on a fine season for the Scots.
1 Barry Edgar (Clyde Bulls)
2 Rob Copley (Clyde Bulls)
3 Andy Brown (Fife Lions)
4 Kieran Eddy (Clyde Bulls)
14 Doug Thompson (Scotland Students)
16 Nathan Graham (Clyde Bulls)
7 Al Stewart (Liverpool Bucs)
8 Ash Carroll © (Edinburgh Eagles)
9 Mark Burns (Birmingham Bulldogs)
10 James Mackay (Penrith Pumas)
18 Nick Surtees (St Albans Centurions)
19 Steve Deviney (Easterhouse Panthers)
21 David Simm (Edinburgh Eagles)
5 Mark Webster (Liverpool Bucs)
6 Ian Gilmour (Leicester Phoenix)
11 Scott MacGillivray (Fife Lions)
15 Andy Todd (Edinburgh Eagles)
17 Craig Stewart (Fife Lions)
20 Kevin Lang (Clyde Bulls)
22 Andy McPhail (Clyde Bulls)
1 Killian Kennedy (Dublin Blues)
2 Ciaran Barry (Treaty City Titans)
3 Mike Brodie (Treaty City Titans)
4 Mike HArte (Portlaoise Panthers)
5 Alan Pembroke (Kilkenny Wildcats)
6 Joe Manuel (Kilkenny Wildcats)
7 Lance Bullen (Dublin Blues)
8 Phil Purdue (East Coast Exiles)
9 Pete Cunningham (East Coast Eagles)
10 Steve Nolan (Dublin City Exiles)
11 Carl Roche (Dublin City Exiles)
12 Brian O’Leary (Kerry Kings)
13 Kevin O’Riordan (Treaty City Titans)
14 Simon Manuel © (Kilkenny Wildcats)
15 Declan Nash (Treaty City Titans)
16 Liam Browne (Treaty City Titans)
18 Keith Kirwan (Waterford Vikings)
19 Barry Sweeney (Waterford Vikings)
20 Mark Phelan (Dublin Blues)
Referee: Michael Burgess (England)