Ireland had raced into an 18-4 lead by half-time, but the Scots launched a second-half fightback that saw them lead 22-18 going into the last few minutes.
“The intensity in the first half wasn’t there,” said Scotland coach Steve McCormack.
“In international football you can’t dip your toe in and it was similar to the game in Wales last week. We gave ourselves a lot to do after the first half.
“In the second half we were great though, and young lads like Shane Toal, Richard Harris and Alex Walker did very well and will be better for that experience, but we don’t like being gallant losers.
David Scott (Doncaster), Shane Toal (Barrow Raiders), Ben Hellewell (London Broncos), Richard Harris (Warrington Wolves), Alex Walker (London Broncos), Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) (capt), Oscar Thomas (London Broncos), Ben Kavanagh (Widnes Vikings), Liam Hood (Salford Red Devils), Jonny Walker (Leigh Centurions), Sonny Esslemont (Hull KR), Dale Ferguson (Bradford Bulls), Danny Addy (Bradford Bulls).
Tries: Addy (2), Toal, Ferguson
Goals: Brough (3)
Scott Grix (Huddersfield Giants), Brad Hargreaves (Rochdale Hornets), James Mendeika (Bradford Bulls), Elliot Cosgrove (Batley Bulldogs), Casey Dunne (Longhorns RL), Ben Johnston (Halifax), Liam Finn (Castleford Tigers) (capt), Matty Hadden (Rochdale Hornets), Bob Beswick (Leigh Centurions), Luke Ambler (Halifax), Danny Bridge (Rochdale Hornets), Will Hope (Oldham Roughyeds), Oliver Roberts (Bradford Bulls)
Tries: Ambler (2), Hargreaves, Grix
Goals: Finn (4)