Glen Boys provide Scotland with the X Factor
Hey look everybody! It’s Glen’s own Jedward - John Barr and Eddie Tembo -the terrible twins posing after Saturday’s Shinty/Hurling International. ‘Course they’re not really Irish, though Eddie is trying to pretend that he is. As you can see they are both broad enough to give the impression that they were weaned on rooster potatoes- but no these two rustics are purely haggis-fed and have in common their roots at the bottom of Drum’s Balmacaan Road where John’s granddad stays two doors away from where Eddie was brought up.
Did they play well? The answer is yes. John Barr put in an impressive defensive performance, hard in the tackle and always focused and when tearaway Tommy lost his All-Star cool near the end Mr B kept the whole thing in perspective and shrugged him off. Hugh Dan said “handbags” on the commentary : not quite right-there was more than a little not quite right in the commentary as Hugh would be the first to admit- because JB's single-minded sense of focus just refuses to allow him get involved in that sort of sad stuff, no matter who tries to dish it out.
Eddie came on just before halftime and did his bit to get the ball up to the front men and did so creating a chance which on a better day would have been buried.
The Wing Centre was part of the goodly crowd and he has to say the game was extremely entertaining: there was a real atmosphere of tension to the match though there was some frustration at the manner in which Scotland failed to claim several of the two-pointers which Irish careless and occasional indiscipline presented to them.
While he was there he came across The Sunday Herald guy and “Scoop” Calder of the Courier who were both raging at the fact that there were no programmes left and that the correct numbers for the players were being kept secret.
“See if you can spot Bill MacAllister of the P & J” suggested the Wing Centre.”If anyone can get the numbers it will be Bill”
True enough Bill seemed to be in the official party up on the podium but on closer inspection he turned out to be copying down details from a sheet which seemed to be owned by Eoghann the Commentator who was describing the whole process in great detail and at least two languages to the crowd.
“Bheil all the figearan right and ceart?” asked the Wing Centre ,trying to trick Eoghann into parting with the knowledge that was journalistic power.
“Right enough, tha iad accurate da-rireadh” said Eoghann – and so the Wing Centre scribbled them down and took them up to The Herald guy and Scoop who were rightly grateful. It was most certainly a coup because it was later to become clear that Iain Anderson and HD were working from a completely different list of names , though the size of Magic Johnston should have given at least a hint of his identity away.
“Having got you the names by using a touch of the old Ciamarathasibh” said the Wing Centre “you will have to let me use your report in the D”
“Sure “said the Herald guy “No probs”
“No disrespect, Herald guy” replied the Wing Centre “but if you don’t mind I’ll use what Scoop writes. He is usually more accurate since he has a later deadline”
“Fine “said Scoop, “Use it if you like- but take off a para or two so the Courier guys don’t recognise it”
Which is what the Wing Centre did- and that is why an approximate Courier report appears here in the D as follows :
“Scotland’s shinty players just failed to make it five wins in a row in the Shinty Hurling International series thanks to a goal in injury time from Ireland front man Shane Dooley. With the game tied at 11 points apiece and ref David Mitchell looking at his watch, a long ball fired out of the besieged Irish defence found Dooley one on one against Scotland defender Scott Campbell and the big Offaly forward rode the challenge and powered the ball past keeper Scott MacNeil to confirm Ireland in their winning three point margin.
The Scots however had started the game with a bang but it was clear from the start that the Irish management now have a clearer vision of how to tackle the mixed code game tactically. Their answer was to leave a spare defender at the back-in this case they plumped for Cork’s experienced Shane O’Neill who went on to win the medal for man of the match. O’Neill spent the afternoon sweeping up in front of his full backs and any tendency for Scotland to play the ball high down the middle was picked up by the All Ireland defender and returned with interest. The early advantage still however lay with Scotland, despite the fact that an early defensive error by fullback Alan Mackenzie allowed Dooley to pop the ball over the bar for the opening point. Scotland came roaring back and a shot from Ronald Ross brought a superb save from Irish keeper Paddy Mullaney a minute later. In ten minutes Scotland won a free hit in the midfield and from Norman Campbells hit, Hector Whitelaw guided the ball into the path of Ronald Ross and the big striker made no mistake from close range.
Shortly afterwards Ross added two more points from a free hit and Newtonmore’s Paul MacArthur did the same a minute later to make the score an apparently comfortable 7-1 on the 15 minute mark. Even by this early stage however it was clear that with O’Neill coming into his own in defence, the service to Ross began to dry up while at the other end of the field the Scotland defenders found it tough to contain Irelands ‘Hurler of the Year’, Tommy Walsh.
Walsh, Ireland’s captain on the day has exceptional stick control which he proved in 19 minutes when he ran wide of the Scotland defence and knocked the ball over to claw back a point. Dooley gratefully accepted another point scoring opportunity before Walsh showed why he has been a GAA Hurling All-Star for the past seven years. Pinching the ball in midfield, he outpaced Scotland defenders Angus Mackay and Ian Macdonald before he squeezed the ball over McNeill’s bar to bring the score back to 7-4. With Down’s John McIntosh getting another point back for Ireland the home side were beginning to look ragged though a snap shot from Niall Macphee saw them reach the halfway mark with a three point lead.
Ireland continued in the second half gradually chipping away at Scotland’s slender lead and while the introduction of Zambian born Eddie Tembo lifted the pressure on the midfield, single points from Shane Dooley, Steven Clynch and a double from Gareth “Magic “Johnston saw Ireland take the lead for the first time in the match. Further strikes from Kieran Divilly and Dooley yet again extended their lead while Scotland were frustrated by their inability to take their chances.
Then in a storming finish Scotland almost snatched the win. Substitute Shaun Nicholson put over for a much needed point and captain Gary Innes bagged two further points from a free hit to bring the scores level at 11-11. A final Scottish push saw David Cheyne with a chance to seal the match but he was pulled down though only a corner was awarded. The strike failed to be converted and the Irish defence scrambled the ball away and when it was hit upfield Dooley silenced the home crowd with his definitive strike.
A deserved victory then after a five year wait for the cream of Ireland’s hurlers but Scotland made them work hard for the win- and with a little more accuracy in their shooting from distance, Scotland would still be sitting on an unbeaten run.”
Not a bad report then if it were not for the fact that it failed to mention the chance that Ronald missed near the end, but then Scoop is a great fan of Ronaldo. Still no-one would grudge wee Tommy and his mates the trophy. They played well enough. Shame they just don’t have that Jedward X-Factor that the Shinty crowd loves and the two Drummers provide.