Sunday 17 December 2017

Eugene Mcgee: Final flourish fails to hide flaws in selection policy

Eugene Mcgee

Thankful for small mercies -- that's about the best description of the second Ireland-Australia game on Saturday night.

Things had been looking really grim at the end of the second quarter, when, on the aggregate score, the Aussies were ahead by no less than 18 points. But, belatedly, many of the Ireland players began to show a bit of fighting spirit for the crowd of over 60,000 and in the final quarter, a lot of GAA pride was restored with a flurry of Ireland scores and and no reply at all from the Aussies until the closing stages.

This was the only period of the two games when Ireland had their opponents genuinely worried, with the power of Sean Cavanagh and Benny Coulter and the late arrival of Donegal's Michael Murphy contributing a total of 18 points in the final 20 minutes.

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