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Saturday 19 April 2014

Series looks doomed after Ireland annihilate hapless Aussies

26 October 2013; Paddy McBrearty, Ireland, celebrates with team-mate Ross Munnelly after the game. International Rules Second Test, Ireland v Australia, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
26 October 2013; Paddy McBrearty, Ireland, celebrates with team-mate Ross Munnelly after the game. International Rules Second Test, Ireland v Australia, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

Ireland recorded a record score to humiliate Australia in the second international rules test in Croke Park before the lowest Irish crowd since the series was reignited in 1998.

The 28,525 crowd witnessed a rout with 79 point difference the biggest ever winning margin in the 38 games played under these rules since 1984.

Their final tally surpassed the 100 points scored by Australia in the first test in Perth in 2005 but rather than it being a milestone of some distinction the ease of the victory merely plunged the whole concept into further doubt.

The visitors promised improvement and there were flickers of urgency in the Australian game before the first ball was thrown in when players squared up to each other in confrontational fashion. At least they seemed keener this time.

But any hope of an Australian surge after falling behind in the first test by 57-35 faded as Ireland picked up from where they left off in Cavan by building an impressive 30-8 lead at the end of the first quarter with Conor McManus's first goal from a clever Michael Murphy break off a Ciaran McKeever delivery the crucial score.

With the series firmly out of sight the Australian indigenous team gave little chase and when Ciaran Kilkenny goaled with a first touch after Sean Cavanagh had squared a delivery to him along the ground they led by 42-16.

As inept as the visitors were the Irish players still showcased their skills impressively.

Captain Murphy ran the show up front with McManus also showing some great touches while Ciaran Sheehan converted some superb overs.

Aidan Walsh, Paul Flynn, Michael Shields and Zac Tuohy ensured Ireland never relented further outfield on the way to a record breaking final tally.

By the interval Ireland were 53-16 clear and with McManus adding another goal after great approach work from Murphy and Louth teenager Ciaran Byrne the embarrassment was heaped on the ragged Australians.

With the record in sight Ireland finished the third quarter 78-25 clear and when Paddy McBrearty fired home a cracking goal two minutes into the final quarter Ireland had broken the 90 point mark.

Australia salvaged something five minutes later when Eddie Betts bundled over their first goal which was quickly followed by a second from Jake Neade  but Ireland got a sixth goal when Paul Conroy's pass to Murphy evaded everyone and found the Australian net.

Colm Keys in Croke Park

Scorers - Ireland: C McManus 24 (2-2-0), 12 M Murphy 0-4-0, 11 P McBrearty (1-1-2), L Keegan (0-3-2), 10 R Munnelly (0-3-1), C Sheehan (0-3-1), 9 C Kilkenny (1-1-0), 7 P Conroy  (1-0-1), 6 J McCaffrey (1-0-0), 5 P Flynn (0-1-2), 4 S Cavanagh (0-1-1),  3 C McKaigue (0-1-0), 1 C Begley, A Walsh, M Shields, J Doyle.

Australia: 9 E Betts (1-1-0), 7 J Neade (1-1-0), 6 Lewis Jetta (0-2-0), 4 J Hill (0-1-1), 3 S Wellingham (0-1-0), Alwyn Davey (0-1-0), L Thomas (0-1-0), 1 J Harbrow, M Stokes.

Ireland: P O'Rourke; N Mcgee, M Shields, C McKaigue;  L Keegan, Z Tuohy, J McCaffrey; A Walsh, S Cavanagh;  P Flynn,  C Byrne,  C Sheehan; R Munnelly, M Murphy, C McManus. Interchange: P Conroy, C McKeever, C Boyle, C Begley, J Doyle, K McLoughlin, P McBrearty, C Kilkenny.

Australia: A McGrath;  J Harbrow, C Yarran, T Armstrong; S Wellingham, S Edwards, N Lovett-Murray;  C Ellis-Yolmen, D Wells;  M Stokes, S Motlop, Aaron Davey;  J Neade, Lewis Jetta, E Betts. Interchange - Leroy Jetta, L Thomas, Alwyn Davey, J Hill, D Barry

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