IRELAND: Round up of Ireland’s international action
The Home Internationals and Celtic Cup took place at Newport two weeks apart and the only match which Ireland did not feature in was the Junior Home International.
The Senior Home International saw two changes from the intended starting line-up as Ben Donahue and Leigh Cossey both withdrew. Ben due to Poole having a re-arranged regional league match and Leigh Cossey due to work commitments. With Adam Stephenson unavailable co-managers Gary Colby & Steve Copping stepped in to fill the gaps, Steve making his first Home International appearance and also his first racing appearance at Newport’s current track. Ireland brought up the rear on 29 points behind winners Engalnd on 59, Wales 48 and Scotland 41. Lewis Roberts top scoring with 12 points, which included Ireland’s only race win in heat 10. Charlie Rumbold was the next highest scorer but only with 5 points caused by being in the wrong place at the wrong time on three occasions. Steve, Gary and Phil Hemming (who was riding in his last International match) all scored 4 points each. Steve nearly caused a sensation in heat 13 when he held Josh Brooke for half a lap before Brooke got past for a 2nd place
Steve, Lewis and Charlie made the return trip for the Celtic Cup. With Adam Stephenson unavailable due to lack of transport, Hethersett riders Dan Butler and Katie Adams were drafted in. Having being 2nd after 10 races Ireland fell victim to a tremendous fightback by Scotland who finished 2nd with 71 points to retain the John Murphy Shield. There was no doubt about the winners who were Wales on 86 points. Ireland eventually finished on 53 points with Charlie & Lewis scoring 15 points each, Lewis claiming 2 wins in his 1st 2 races. Dan Butler scored 9 points which wasn’t bad considering he has returned to the sport after a 5 year absence this season caused by a very serious quad bike accident, which very nearly claimed his life. Katie Adams made her International debut and scored a very creditable 7 points, the same as Steve who also took on the manager’s role due to Gary being unavailable.