Captain Kyle Banner gave Scotland victory over Ireland in the Centenary Shield, powering home a header from Calvin McGrory’s corner. In a scrappy match at Renfrew Juniors, it was the only shot on target for over an hour of play as both teams struggled to make their final ball count. Only in the final 20 minutes were the keepers brought into the action, but despite some late pressure, Ireland couldn’t find an equaliser.
The goal was the first meaningful action of the game, apart from a couple of set plays for Ireland around the Scotland box which came to nothing. McGrory’s corner was whipped into the box and from virtually the penalty spot Banner made a great connection to find the back of the net and leave the keeper helpless.
Chances were few and far between with possession given away far too cheaply and the killer ball always lacking. Ireland looked dangerous down the left hand side though with the skilful Ronan Manning making things happen. His through ball released Conor Layng who sped into the Scotland box and looked set to burst the net but he went down under a light touch in the back from Banner, with the referee unconvinced it was enough to deserve a penalty.
Despite the game being played at a fast pace with some tenacious tackles going around, there was a distinct lack of quality in the final third and both keepers managed to avoid saving a shot in the half. The visitors certainly seemed to have the better of the play up to a point but without the composure and patience needed to make it count. Scotland goalkeeper Ronan Fallens was replaced at half-time having had little to do.