Shinty-hurling international: Scotland 14-5 Ireland

Scotland celebrate their win over Ireland
Scotland celebrate their win over Ireland

The dead-ball skills of Lovat ace Kevin Bartlett proved to be the difference as Scotland beat Ireland 14-5 in the annual shinty-hurling international at Bught Park.

Bartlett scored all but one of Scotland's points from free hits over the bar.

It ensured the Scots retained their title after their 2015 success.

After the game, Bartlett confirmed he will be moving back to Caberfeidh in the second-tier National Division.

The Scotland-Ireland series is now reduced from two games to just one, and there were just 15 seconds on the clock when an Irish infringement gave the home side their first free hit, which Bartlett sent over the bar with consummate ease.

Ireland struck back when Scotland's goalkeeper Stuart MacDonald sent an attempted save over his own bar for a single point before Cha Dwyer equalised with a point from open play.

Scotland v Ireland
The match is a showpiece at the end of Scotland's shinty season

Within a minute, Scotland were ahead again with another Bartlett two-pointer before another free hit took a deflection off a defender, so only qualified for one.

Bartlett was also instrumental in the only Scottish point he did not score when he robbed an opponent of the ball and sent it through to Roddy MacDonald, who sent it over the bar from open play.

Shane Dooley clawed back another point for Ireland but two further quick-fire free hits from Bartlett, who also had a number of misses, made the half-time score 10-3.

There may have been no goals but that was in large measure down to Scotland keeper MacDonald, whose many fine saves included two from Mickey Boyle.

It was also Boyle who clawed a single back but, with free hits on either side of this from Bartlett the score drifted to 14-4.

With 10 minutes left, Irish keeper Eoin Reilly provided the best spectacle of the game when he took the ball on the broad blade of his stick and ran 80 yards with it up the left wing. However, Ireland were unable to cash in on the territory gained although Boyle did grab the final point in stoppage time.

Scotland v Ireland
The Scots won for the second year running

It was another satisfying afternoon for Scotland manager Ronald Ross.

He said: "I'm happy in the end. It was a hard-fought game and they all competed and gave 110%.

"It's probably the first international I know where there hasn't been a goal in it but we certainly tried for it. It was closer than probably the scoreline suggested but it's great to win again in Inverness."

Scotland lost both the other games on the programme when the under-21 side went down 30-17 and the women were defeated 12-2 by Dublin County in their Camogie clash.