Scottish Schools 9,

Irish Schools 21


WAS this, perhaps, the hardest game I have watched during the season?

Well, there were five Scots who had to be replaced and one of the

replacements only lasted 10 minutes; at the end the team doctor told me

he felt like going to his bed.

The Scots, having beaten the English, arrived at Balgray full of

confidence. At half-time, 9-0 in front, the mood was definitely up-beat

and the Irish coach was doing an impression of Graeme Souness on a bad


Even then, however, it had to be noted that the visitors were winning

an awful lot of ball at the lines through Robbie Powell and Eric Miller.

Surely their fly-half, Fergal Campion, would not go on squandering

goal-kicking chances -- he missed five in the first half.

At that stage Scots' coach Peter Gallagher was still hopeful. ''I

thought they were a very good side but we were containing them. Then we

conceded a silly try and, ultimately, we ran out of bodies.''

One of the casualties was his own son, Niall, who came on as a

replacement only to suffer a dislocated shoulder.

Even in defeat there was much to savour in the home performance.

Kenneth Baillie was a brave and accomplished full-back while the

abrasive centre, Cameron Murray, impressed, as did scrum-half Philip


The Scots lads always were looking to move the ball, in contrast to

the Irish who, for three-quarters of the game, kicked often and not

well. Who coaches kids to play like this, and do they realise the damage

they are doing?

Ireland had the beef up front but that could not hide the talent of

Graham Dall nor quench the competitive spirit of Keir Hamilton. The

Irish wing, Denis Hickie, looked an exciting prospect.

Martin Hose kicked Scotland in front with a first-minute penalty that

bounced in off a post.

Campion scattered goal-kicks to the wind while Hose managed two more

penalties before half-time.

The Irish took only a couple of minutes of the second period to pierce

the defence, Miller setting up the try, with Hickie scorching in from

the left. Campion missed the conversion and a subsequent penalty to

bring his success rate to none from seven. Scots, however, were now

leaving like emigrants and the blue line was becoming ever thinner.

At last Campion found his range, adding three penalties and converting

a try by Jan Cunningham. Teams:

Scottish Schools -- K I Baillie (Hutchesons'); C I Brims (Fettes

College), A A J McGregor (Stewart's Melville), C A Murray (Knox

Academy), D J Ablett (Boroughmuir); M I Hose (Stranraer Academy), P M S

Simpson (Balwearie High); S J Lithgow (Merchiston Castle), C P Docherty

(Marr College), D E Grant (Dollar Academy), G C Perrett (Bearsden

Academy), C W Rutherford (Merchiston Castle), K M Hamilton (Stewart's

Melville), D McLeish (Kelso High), G F Dall (Heriot's) captain.

Replacements -- G D Burton (Strathallan) for Rutherford (17min.), P N

Gallagher (Berwickshire High) for Hamilton (46), J L McIntosh (Watson's

College) for Docherty (47), C D B Flockhart for Gallagher (56), C J

Lawson (Galashiels Academy) for Hamilton (65).

Irish Schools -- J L Cunningham (Bangor Grammar); J P Topping

(Ballymena Academy), G J Brennan (Pres Brothers), R I McIlreavy (Wesley

College), D A Hickey; F T Campion, C D McGuinness (all St Mary's); S

Waterworth (Methodist College), C Egan, B O Campbell (both Terenure), R

J Powell (King's Hospital), J K Ryan (Blackrock), A R Bermingham (St

Munchin's), E P Miller (Wesley College), K Dawson (Bangor Grammar).

Referee -- S W Piercy (England).