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Our Best And Worst Days Against Scotland

Our Best And Worst Days Against Scotland
By Conor Neville
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Our best and worst days in the Five/Six Nations Championship against Scotland. From the miserable '90s, to the '00s when Ireland lorded it over Scotland, here are the high points and low points for Ireland in this fixture.

 HIGH POINT - 1985 

An extremely popular one here, and one of Ireland's best days in the days when Fred Cogley called it. It was like we were transported forward to 2006 or something. Scotland had won the Grand Slam in 1984, whereas Ireland took the wooden spoon. In 1985, it was almost a complete role reversal, as Ireland won the championship, while Scotland felt the smack of the wooden spoon (these were the sort of fluctuations that used to happen back in the amateur days). Ireland, with Paul Dean pulling the strings at out-half and the dangerous Trevor Ringland on the wing played incredibly free-flowing rugby, and scored magnificent tries.


LOW POINT - 1993 

After losing every game in the calendar year of 1992, Ireland endured a disastrous start to the 1993 Five Nations, losing miserably 15 - 3 to Scotland in Murrayfield.

Colin Wilkinson made his first and last ever cap for Ireland at full back, Niall Malone commenced on his extremely brief career as Irish out-half. Ulster Hooker Steve Smith and Connacht No. 8 Noel Mannion made their last appearances for Ireland. Tries from wings Tony Stanger and Derek Stark gave Scotland victory in a dreary match (which was played in the middle of January).

After the match, one of the Ireland coaches, Noel Murphy, tried to rally the troops, saying "Come on boys, heads up, I saw a lot of positives out there." Simon Geoghegan piped up. "Name them, name them", he spat. There followed a fairly awkward silence. Geoghegan flung his jersey on the dressing room floor, and a few days later gave an interview on the dire state of Irish rugby and was suspended from the squad for one day.


In a further clue to the atmosphere at the time, Brendan Fanning wrote in From There To Here that he was asked by his sports editor to ring up all the players and ask them "why they're such wankers."


It was all set up to be Warren Gatland's last game in charge of Ireland. They had a harrowing experience at the World Cup which we don't need to go into again here. In the opening match, Ben Cohen and Austun Healey ran riot as Ireland they had been spanked 50 - 18 at Twinckenham. Gatty made a glut of changes before this game. Out went Conor O'Shea, Tom Tierney, Justin Bishop, David Humphreys, Paul Wallace, Bob Casey and Dion O'Cuinneagain. In came Shane Horgan and Girvan Dempsey and all the Munster contingent who were busy pulling up trees in this new Heineken Cup thing.


It started badly with O'Gara shanking a kick wide and Scotland going 10 - 0 up, but then it all clicked. Tries from O'Driscoll, Horgan, O'Kelly, Wood, and Humphreys (who came on at half-time)


Somewhat embarrasingly, it was Ireland's first win over Scotland since 1988. This match started the new decade for Ireland. We were off into sunnier times.

LOW POINT - 1997

Another game which, mercifully, does not have much of a presence on Youtube. Ireland had lost 46-6 to England in Lansdowne Road a couple of weeks before and, beaten and despondent, traveled to Murrayfield for the final game of the championship. The match turned into another rout at the end, despite Denis Hickie scoring a try inside the first few minutes. Five tries helped Scotland cruise to a 38-10 win. Another memory from the glorious Brian Ashton/Pa Whelan reign.

Kurt McQuilken being stretchered off during Ireland's awful display nin murrayfield in 97


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