Sunday 15 September 2019

Ireland captain O'Shea lays down challenge to team-mates ahead of tough second test task

Ireland manager Joe Kernan and captain Aidan O'Shea after the first test at the Adelaide Oval. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Ireland manager Joe Kernan and captain Aidan O'Shea after the first test at the Adelaide Oval. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Irish International Rules captain Aidan O’Shea has laid down a clear challenge for his colleagues ahead of tomorrow’s second Test against Australia in Perth.

“We need to get more bodies on the scoresheet,” he said. 

Conor McManus (24 points) and Michael Murphy (20 points) contributed all but nine of Ireland’s 53 points in Adelaide last Sunday, with Paul Geaney and Conor Sweeney adding three each, Niall Sludden on two and Shane Walsh on one.

Australia, in contrast, had 14 scorers, proving their ability to get forward in large numbers.

“The way they set up defensively caused us a bit of problem. Brendon Goddard was coming out and playing more like a defender than a goalkeeper.

“We probably tried to the kick the ball too long at times too, kicking into areas where we were outnumbered. We’ll try and play through the lines a bit more, get ‘marks’ higher up the field so that we can get bodies up with Conor McManus and Michael Murphy,” said O’Shea.

Ireland are taking a 10-point deficit into the game but O’Shea insists overtaking the Australians is well within their capability range.

“A 10-point lead is only a three-point lead (an over is worth three points) in our game so we can get back into it. It’s all to play for. We feel we’re right in there with a good chance. Things have gone well this week.

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“We had players in bed (ill) 90 minutes before the game last Sunday and they went out and played. Things are much better now and we’ve drafted in a few boys at well so, as a player group, we’re quite happy and a lot more content going into this weekend,” said O’Shea at the final pre-match press conference in the Subiaco Oval.

Australian captain, Shaun Burgoyne said their main concern centred around the accuracy and long range skills of Irish players.

“The range of their kicking is impressive. They can put the ball where they want it. That’s a big learning curve for us,” he said.

Ireland are unhappy over the pitch dimensions, which are narrower than than usual.

However, they are not making an issue of it, preferring to concentrate on getting their own game right.

“I have never been as positive about anything in my life,” said manager, Joe Kernan.

The game will be the last big event at the Subiaco Oval, which is to close shortly. It will replaced by a new 60,000 arena, which will host AFL  games as well as international action across a range of sports.

The game, which will shown live on RTE 2, starts at 8.45am Irish time tomorrow morning.

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