Alitalia European Cup: Scotland 18-30 Ireland

Stuart Littler scored twice for Ireland
Stuart Littler scored twice for Ireland

Ireland produced a dominant first-half performance against Scotland in Edinburgh to lay the platform for Mark Aston's first win as head coach.

Ireland never looked back after scoring four first-half tries, all down their right flank, in the opening Alitalia European Cup match.

Aston, who succeeded Andy Kelly as head coach 18 months ago, said: "Credit to the players.

"They found a weakness and shot it to pieces."

Winger Tim Bergin and veteran centre Stuart Littler both scored two tries apiece to establish a 22-0 interval lead.

And, when Elliot Cosgrove added a fifth three minutes into the second half, the visitors were coasting at 28-0.

However, the Bravehearts fought back to claim tries through lively hooker Ben Fisher, who got a touch to his own grubber kick, prop Mitch Stringer and substitute Callum Cockburn, who touched down Fisher's high kick.

David Scott kicked all three conversions, while Ireland's only other score came from a penalty by skipper Liam Finn, to add to his four successful conversions.

Scotland had 20-year-old Leeds hooker Liam Hood, Wigan teenage threequarter Shae Lyon-Fraser and 21-year-old twins Jonathan and Adam Walker all making their debuts.

Aston gave debuts to six players as well as first caps to John O'Donnell and James Mendeika, who both played in the non-capped game against England Knights this summer.

Ireland's next match in the Alitalia Cup is against the Knights in Belfast next Saturday evening, while Scotland face the English side on 28 October in Edinburgh.

Scotland: Brett Carter, Alex Hurst, Shae Lyon-Fraser, Josh Barlow, David Scott, Lee Paterson, Liam Hood, Paul Jackson, Andrew Henderson, Mitchell Stringer, Sam Barlow, Dale Ferguson, Alex Szostak. Subs (all used): Ben Fisher, Adam Walker, Jonathan Walker, Callum Cockburn.

Ireland: Gregg McNally, Tim Bergin, Stuart Littler, Joshua O'Toole, John O'Donnell, James Mendeika, Liam Finn, Sean Hesketh, Carl Sice, Luke Ambler, Elliot Cosgrove, Callum Casey, Tyrone McCarthy. Subs (all used): Colton Roche, Sam Wellens, Matty Hadden, Tom McKeown.

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