at Bught Park, Inverness
The strong Westmeath representation on the Ireland senior shinty-hurling squad continued on Saturday, as Delvin’s Darragh Clinton and Clonkill’s Darragh Egerton featured for Ireland for the first time, with Lough Lene Gaels' Tommy Doyle featuring for the second time, against Scotland in Bught Park, Inverness.
The trio followed in the footsteps of fellow Lake County players Eoin Price and Derek McNicholas in representing their country, but success didn’t come their way as Ireland lost to Scotland by 1-11 to 1-9.
The visitors totally dominated the opening half, and moved 1-6 to nil ahead on 27 minutes, following a goal from Meath’s Gavin McGowan, with Clinton getting one of Ireland’s scores during that spell.
However, Ireland only managed two second half points as ultimately a string of two-pointers from Kevin Bartlett helped the hosts to victory.
“Eoin and Derek would have played for a long number of years and they would have been regular enough. There’s a good few Westmeath lads after playing it, so it’s a good privilege to get the call too,” Clinton said after the game.
Westmeath along with Meath offered the strongest representation on the panel with three players each, while also from a Lake County perspective players from three different clubs were involved, something, which was nice to see, according to Clinton.
“I would be from a club in Westmeath where we aren’t breaking into the top three or four just yet, but hopefully we can at some stage in the near future,” he said.
“It’s good for me and Tommy’s club were beaten in the semi-final, so it’s good to get recognised and brought over for the game.”
It was the 22-year old’s first experience of the hybrid game at any level, and Clinton said it was a tough, physical match.
“It’s hard when you aren’t together with the group of lads training that much,” he said.
“Your first instinct is to put the ball in your hands. You can’t kick it or anything, and it doesn’t help with those lads behind you when their stick is a good bit longer than yours!”
Clinton says it’s disappointing that Ireland didn’t make full use of their dominance in the opening half.
“The wind was a huge factor,” he said. “We knew at half-time 10-2 ahead, that the game was far from over, and it was the way it turned out as they came back at it, and we only got two points in the second half.
“The strong wind didn’t help us in the second half. It was fierce hard to get scores and get the ball up to the forwards in the second half.”