Thursday 22 February 2018

Five things we learned from Ireland's 63-53 defeat in the first International Rules test against the Aussies

Paul Geaney of Ireland ducks as his team mate Michael Murphy fires in a shot under pressure from Michael Hibberd of Australia during the Virgin Australia International Rules Series 1st test at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Paul Geaney of Ireland ducks as his team mate Michael Murphy fires in a shot under pressure from Michael Hibberd of Australia during the Virgin Australia International Rules Series 1st test at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

Ireland face a daunting task in trying to overturn a 10-point deficit in next week's second test in Perth afetr playing second fiddle to Australia in Adelaide this morning. Here's what we learned from the game.

Over-reliance on McManus and Murphy will cost us

Australia had a huge spread of 14 different scorers in Adelaide this morning. Ireland relied on the Ulster duo of Conor McManus and Michael Murphy for 44 out of their 53 points.

The Aussies are famed for their analysis of opponents and Ireland's dynamic duo are unlikely to get as much space in Perth next week.

Ireland paying the price for not bringing standby players

Ireland brought a number of standby players on their last trip Down Under and their failure to do so this time around looks like a glaring error.

With Enda Smith and Niall Murphy failing to shake off the effects of a stomach bug and Pearce Hanley, who was also ill during the week, failing to make an impact, Ireland's squad now looks very thin and the failure of the rookies to hit the ground running has exacerbated the problem.

Aussie skill levels very high

I don't think anyone was expecting to see the skillset on show from the hosts.

Nat Fyfe's stunning solo goal illustrated their comfort with the round ball and their shooting and passing with the foot was of a high standard throughout the game.

Irish attacking players could learn a lot from studying the movement of Eddie Betts.

Australia's use of their goalkeeper gives food for thought

Brendon Goddard was hugely effective for the Aussie's in goal.

Apart from only conceding one goal to Michael Murphy, Goddard approached his role as an auxiliary sweeper with gusto and snuffed out a number of Irish goal chances with his rush defence.

In contrast, Australia dominated exchanges in the Irish box with the defence lacking the physicality required. Luke Shuey's goal illustrated that.

Ireland should improve

Joe Kernan will be expecting a lot more from the likes of Paul Geaney and Conor Sweeney in attack especially given the fact that the Aussies were very open at times.

The inexperienced players will have gleaned an awful lot from the Adelaide experience and the return of Smith and (Niall) Murphy will bring a welcome boost.

Struggles with the kickout will frustrate Niall Morgan but he should improve on this facet in time for next week.

A boisterous Irish crowd in Perth will also provide a much-needed filip.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport