The Scots went down 25-19 to John Meyler's side in the first leg of the annual shinty-hurling contest in Inverness last Saturday but would surely be facing mission impossible but for Kevin Bartlett.
Few players from the Marine Harvest League's North Division 1 pull on the dark blue, and eyebrows were raised two years ago when the Caberfeidh man was listed in Drew McNeil's pool. "Kevin who?" was the most common response.
However, the blond forward struck 14 points in last year's matches and was the Scots' leading scorer again last Saturday with an impressive 11 points which included a late five-point goal that gives Scotland a glimmer of a chance of landing the 2012 international series trophy at Cusack Park.
If they can complete a remarkable turnaround, the man from the lower reaches will have proved he deserves to spar with the best from both sides of the Irish Sea.
"I love playing in this fixture," said the pacy wing forward. "Not everyone gets the chance to play in the big games. In fact, until I was involved with Scotland, my biggest match was a final of the Balliemore Cup [for lower league sides]. To be involved is great. To get to know the boys and to play in front of big crowds, like we had in Inverness last week, is excellent."
It is a mark of Bartlett's transition from a North Division 1 player to a national asset that Ireland opted to place a man-marker on him last week and all the more so because the man chosen to shackle him was Tommy Walsh, a legend of Irish hurling, who has just been nominated for the Gaelic Athletic Association All-Star squad.
"I like to think I have the ability to see something in a player and Kevin is a quality act," said McNeil, the Scotland manager. "The Irish put Walsh on him last weekend and that shows Kevin's capability.
"Tommy Walsh can't walk down the street in Ireland without getting mobbed. He is on course to becoming one of the best hurlers Ireland has ever produced."
You have to go back four years for a Scotland series win but morale in the Scottish camp in Ennis was high going into this afternoon's match, for two reasons. Despite losing last weekend, their second-half performance and two late goals mean the Scots' camans are up.
There is also the fact Patrick Horgan, who scored 22 of Ireland's points last weekend, will not play in the return, having booked an unfortunately timed holiday in Puerto Rico.
However, McNeil sounded a cautionary note regarding Horgan's absence. "He probably didn't have any more goals left in him," joked the former Scotland shinty captain. "In 2010, he and Shane Dooley played together but it was Dooley scoring all the goals. We will be just as wary of what he can do."
* Today's fixture is live on BBC Alba at 2pm