The reason for that buoyancy was two late goals, by Kevin Bartlett and Neil MacDonald, which gave the Scots something of a series lifeline.
Had those two five-point goals not gone into Bernard Rochford's net, it may have been a forlorn journey home for the Scots shinty players from the Bught Park.
It might also have made a formality of this Saturday's second leg in Ennis, County Clare, with Ireland almost guaranteed the silverware for a fourth consecutive year.
As it is, Scotland still have a serious chance over the Irish Sea and intend to grab it while it is still within their power to do so.
One player with more incentive than most is John Stewart. The bustling Kilmallie forward has been a fixture in this series for nine years and was called into the squad late last week after Roddy MacDonald of Kyles Athletic was withdrawn.
On Saturday he ruffled more than a few Irish feathers and was always a threat with his physical presence and ground skill.
He knows Saturday may be his last hurrah in the dark blue of his country and, having got back into this tie, he does not want to see the opportunity squandered.
"We've given ourselves a chance," he said afterwards. "Everyone talks about the fitness of the Irish but we have been working hard on that and I felt we finished strongly this time.
"I was over the moon when I was called into the squad. I always see it as an honour and it meant a lot, especially as this may be my final year.
"We will certainly give it everything we've got. There's still plenty to play for."
If Ireland's Patrick Horgan, of Cork, had things all his own way, and he did for long spells, Scotland would have nothing to play for this week.
He seemed to be on a solo mission to make sure that was the outcome and it would make an interesting project for an anorak to find out the last time one player scored 22 points in a game of shinty/hurling.
Shane Dooley (two) and Neil McManus (one) were the only other Irishmen to score points, and Horgan's haul included three five-point goals, more than the entire Scottish team.
One of the four top-tier hurlers selected by John Meyler, the irrepressible No.8 was all over the park while mastering the art of stealing silently behind the Scottish defence.
All of his goals came from ghosting in from the flanks then delivering the telling touch when required.
"We were actually more worried about Shane Dooley before the game," said the Scotland manager, Drew McNeil.
"But Horgan was special. They both played up front against us in 2010 and caused a lot of problems."
For Scotland, blond-haired wide man Bartlett posed a few teasers for Ireland's defenders, causing them discomfort whenever he ventured into the danger areas. He hit 11 of Scotland's points, including a crucial goal which whistled into the net for five points.
Steven MacDonald (two), Niall MacPhee (one) and Neil MacDonald (five) helped to keep the tie alive.
"This is only half-time in the series," emphasised Scotland manager McNeil.
"We said to the boys near the end that it was important to get as close as we could, and they did that. Now we'll go there and give it our best shot."
REACTION 'Plenty to play for' in County Clare return leg, finds Kenneth Stephen
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