Wednesday 18 July 2018

International Rules: Ireland wilt in the heat in Adelaide

AUSTRALIA 2-13-12 (63)

IRELAND 1-13-8 (53)

Aidan O Shea of Ireland is tackled by Nat Fyfe of Australia during the Virgin Australia International Rules Series 1st test at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Aidan O Shea of Ireland is tackled by Nat Fyfe of Australia during the Virgin Australia International Rules Series 1st test at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

IRELAND will head for Perth tomorrow with much to reflect on after coming up well short in the first International Rules test in the Adelaide Oval.

They are still in with a chance of retaining the Cormac McAnallen Cup but it will take one of the best performances in the 33-year history of the series to rescue  a very difficult situation.

Pearce Hanley of Ireland is tackled by Dayne Zorko of Australia during the Virgin Australia International Rules Series 1st test at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Pearce Hanley of Ireland is tackled by Dayne Zorko of Australia during the Virgin Australia International Rules Series 1st test at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Australia gave a masterful display in the blazing heat  and, after taking some time to settle, they displayed a wide range of skills all over the pitch.

They were totally at ease with the round ball, kicking some wonderful scores, spread across a wide range of kickers.

Ireland in contrast were overly-reliant on Conor McManus and Michael Murphy, who between them scored 44 points.  McManus hit 24 and Murphy 20, but they needed a lot more support against a well-structured Australian defence.

Shane Walsh had some good moments but often found himself a long way from the Australian goal in search of possession which wasn’t easily secured against tigerish markers.

Aidan O Shea of Ireland wins possession ahead of Scott Pendlebury of Australia during the Virgin Australia International Rules Series 1st test at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Aidan O Shea of Ireland wins possession ahead of Scott Pendlebury of Australia during the Virgin Australia International Rules Series 1st test at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Kevin Feely, Zac Tuohy and Eoin Cadogan did well too but overall, Ireland were second best and will need to find a whole lot of inspiration if they are to have any chance of wiping out the 10-point lead next Saturday.

Ireland’s prospects were severely hampered by being reduced to a panel of 21 when Enda Smith and Niall Murphy failed to shake off the effects of a stomach bug and had to withdraw. It restricted Ireland’s interchange plans, which they could ill-afford in the intense heat.

Pearce Hanley, who was also ill during the week, lined out but was not as effective as would have been expected.

Australia led 28-27 at half-time, having wiped out out a 10-point lead which was established when McManus scored his fourth ‘over’ from a free in 25th minute. It came shortly after Ireland had pounced for a well-worked goal.

It was launched off an accurate long range delivery from Walsh. Paul Geaney and Hanley continued the move, the latter passing to Murphy who beat Australian keeper, Brendon Goddard for the only goal of the first half.

Ireland were going well when leading 27-17 but Australia forced their way back, scoring three ‘overs’ and two ‘behinds, taking them to 28 points.

Ireland led15-14 at the end of the first quarter, having gone into an early 6-0 lead. McManus and Murphy scored 26 of Ireland’s 27 first half points between them, with Niall Sludden adding a point from a ‘behind.

Australia enjoyed an excellent third quarter, outscoring the visitors 22-8. Their haul included a goal, expertly finished by Nat Fyfe in the 44th minute. They also kicked five ‘overs’, whereas Ireland could only add two.It was match-defining period which will not make pretty viewing when the Irish players and management review the video.

Ireland looked in serious trouble when trailing by 15 points after 54 minutes but, to their credit, they summoned energy from somewhere to win the final quarter by 18-13.

They had pared the margin to seven points by the 62nd minute but were dealt a heavy blow a minute later when when Luke Shuey availed of a defensive error to score Australia’s second goal.

Ireland battled on and, by the end, had cut the lead to 10 points. It’s a sizeable deficit but still leaves them with with some hope if they can tidy up their game, especially in attack where they need to find a way of providing more support for McManus and Murphy.

Scorers: Ireland: C McManus 0-7-3 (24), M Murphy 1-4-2 (20), P Geaney 0-1-0 (3), C Sweeney 0-1-0 (3), S Sludden 0-0-2 (2), S Walsh 0-0-1 (1).

Australia: N Fyfe 1-3-1 (16), C Wingard 0-2-2 (8), L Shuey 1-0-0 (6), S Zorko 0-2-0 (6), B Brown 0-2-0 (6), E Betts 0-1-2 (5), P Ryder 0-1-0 (3), K Simpson 0-1-0 (3), P Dangerfield 0-1-0 (3), Z Merrett 0-0-2(2), R Sloane 0-0-2 (2), T Boak 0-0-1 (1), M Hibberd 0-0-1 (1), J Gunston 0-01 (1).

IRELAND: : N Morgan (Tyrone); K Clarke (Cavan), O Cadogan (Cork), B Harrison (Mayo); C Barrett (Mayo), Z Tuohy (Geelong & Laois), P Crowley (Kerry); K Feely (Kildare), A O’Shea (Mayo); N Sludden (Tyrone), P Hanley (Gold Coast & Mayo), S Walsh (Galway); P Geaney (Kerry), M Murphy (Donegal), C McManus (Monaghan).

Interchanges: G Brennan (Clare), N Grimley (Armagh), K O’Connell (Monaghan), S Powter (Cork), P Murphy (Kerry), C Sweeney (Tipperary)

AUSTRALIA: B Goddard (Essendon); S Burgoyne (Hawthorn), R Tarrant (North Melbourne), S Pendlebury (Collingwood); K Simpson (Carlton), R Laird (Adelaide Crows), L Shuey (West Coast Eagles); P Ryder (Port Adelaide), D Zorko (Brisbane Lions); M Hibberd (Melbourne), P Dangerfield (Geelong Cats), R Sloane (Adelaide Crows); E Betts (Adelaide Crows), N Fyfe (Fremantle), C Wingard (Port Adelaide).

Interchanges: T  Boak (Port Adelaide), B Brown (North Melbourne), J Gunston (Hawthorn), Z Merrett (Essendon), N Jetta (Melbourne).

Referees: M Deegan (Laois) & M Stevic (Australia)

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