IRELAND 28 SCOTLAND 22
Ireland unconvincingly but eventually shook off a plucky Scotland side as they continued their World Cup preparations with a 28-22 win in Dublin.
The Irish dominated the opening half but had only Chris Henry’s try to show for it as the visitors levelled through Blair Cowan.
They did not expect to see the Scots storm out of the traps in the second half but despite conceding further touchdowns to Henry Pyrgos and Peter Horne, Ireland were able to claim their second victory in a week with tries from Sean Cronin, Simon Zebo and Luke Fitgerald.
Ireland had kicked four penalties into the corner during the first half and they were soon made to regret that decision-making four minutes after the restart when skipper Henry Pyrgos put Scotland ahead.
Jon Welsh burrowed his way to within a hair’s breadth of the line, but, while the Irish backed off expecting Pyrgos to open the play, the Glasgow scrum-half caught them cold as he darted from the line.
Scottish joy was tempered, though, as Horne again missed with his boot, while Ryan Grant had to be taken off on a stretcher with an ankle knock, leaving his World Cup hopes in major doubt.
Ireland hit back when Madigan stuck another free-kick into touch. This time the ploy worked as Sean Cronin muscled his way over from a successful line-out drive.
Madigan put his side momentarily in front with a conversion, but a Horne penalty once again handed Scotland the initiative.
With 20 minutes remaining Ireland thought they had finally killed off their rivals when Isaac Boss and Madigan worked a clever combination before sending Zebo galloping in behind the Scottish defence to score under the posts.
Madigan did the necessary with the conversion but when Scotland’s veteran wing Sean Lamont was allowed to power his way forward and offload to Horne soon after, there was nothing Ireland could do as the centre ran in Scotland’s third touchdown, converted this time by Jackson.
However, the crazy encounter continued to excite and Ireland did eventually put themselves out of sight with 10 minutes left as Madigan’s cross-field kick landed perfectly in Fitzgerald’s grasp before the winger skipped past Jackson to score.
Madigan again added the conversion but could have eased his side’s nerves had he not wasted a penalty chance with five minutes left. A last-gasp bid from the visitors was fumbled by Blake, though, and Ireland clinched the wiN.