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Ireland destroy the Australians

19 October 2001
Revenge for Brian McEniff was sweet in Adelaide as his side mauled Australia to the tune of 20 points and claimed the International Trophy by an aggregate score of 28-points.

Only 31,000 turned up in Football Park on Friday morning to see an inspired performance by Ireland, who turned in a massive third quarter display which was the key to their win. With Darren Fay, Tadgh Kennelly and Graham Geraghty excelling throughout the match, and Padraig Joyce putting in a great last 30 minutes Ireland had too much class for their opponents. Ireland used their ball skills to telling effect, using soccer techniques and flicks with great success and confusing the Aussies on numerous occasions.

With the weather conditions an improvement from seven days previously Ireland got the perfect start. Graham Geraghty who looked Ireland’s best performer in the first half put an early chance behind for the games opening score. Australia went 2-1 ahead before Michael Donnellan hit the first over of the match, and that was quickly cancelled out by a three pointer from Joel Smith, and a behind from Nick Stevens.



Ireland then scored twelve points without reply, with Anthony Tohill getting Ireland’s first goal after seven minutes of play. Tadgh Kennelly won possession in the middle of the field and fed the ball forward. It was knocked into the path of Brendan Devenney who dribbled it along the ground before passing to Anthony Tohill who soccered it to the net. Overs from Earley and Brendan Ger O’Sullivan put Ireland 16-6 clear after nine minutes of play, but the visitors were not to score for the remainder of the quarter.
Three successive overs from Matthew Lappin, Lloyd and Francou narrowed the gap to just one at the end of the quarter. For the final ten minutes of that period it was all Australia and Ireland were indebted to Cormac Sullivan for a great save from Blake Caracella after 13 minutes. While at the other end Cormac McAnallen raced through from a narrow angle but his hopeful shot went terribly wide.

End of first quarter - Ireland 16 (1-3-1) Australia (0-4-3)

Brendan Ger O’Sullivan scored the first over of the quarter but the impressive Brent Harvey canceled that out almost immediately. Then came another Australian error as Graham Geraghty pressurized a defender and knocked the ball into his own path. He soccered it past Simon Goodwin and finished to the net for Ireland’s second goal. Tadgh Kennelly followed up with an over and Ireland were ten clear 28-18 after 28 minutes of play.

Just like the during the earlier quarter, Australia owned possession for the next eight minutes and scored 12 points without response. The key score was a Matthew Lloyd goal when he half-volleyed a first time shot to Cormac Sullivan’s net from 21-metres out, after the ball broke to him. Overs from Maxfield and Harvey put Australia back in front, 30-28 after 35 minutes. The game was now at it’s peak, with play flowing from end to end. Australia just like in the first test looked the better side, but Ireland’s ability to find the net was keeping them in touch, and a late over from Brendan Devenney just before the half time siren meant that the visitors trailed by just the minimum, 32-33 at the break.

Half time - Ireland 32 (2-6-2) Australia 33 (1-8-3)



They call the third quarter the championship quarter in Australia, as they deem it the period of a game when the winners usually make a telling move. So it proved to be, but it was Ireland who took the game by the scruff of the neck. Brendan Devenney hit two behinds and between those two scores Simon Goodwin made a fine save from Seamus Moynihan. Two overs from Tadgh Kennelly stretched Ireland’s advantage to seven before Matthew Lloyd scored an over.

Then Cormac Sullivan was called to block a Simon Goodes effort, but in truth a goal was at Australia’s mercy had he passed to the unmarked Lloyd beside him. Johnny Crowley then hit two fine three-pointers, after which Geraghty scored a great over to put his side 49-37 clear after 49 minutes. It was all Ireland at this stage with Australia struggling to win possession and hesitant in defence. Matthew Lappin scored two great overs after claiming marks, but Padraic Joyce who was starting to have an impression in the game fired an over from 35 metres that meant Ireland led 53-43.

The game was then stopped for five minutes as Sean Marty Lockhart received treatment after a late tackle from Blake Caracella who was sin binned for the foul. The Derry man had been in inspired form for the Irish defence but his side rallied in his absence and looked solid as a rock at the back.

To emphasize the dominance of Ireland’s play Joyce won possession and broke clear to fire the last over of the quarter, four minutes into injury time to leave Ireland 12 clear, and more importantly 18 points clear on aggregate.

End of third quarter - Ireland 56 (2-13-5) Ireland (1-11-5)

The temptation must have been there to sit on the lead but Ireland had different ideas and stretched the lead immediately through Tadgh Kennelly, and all Australia could reply with were two loose behinds. The pace continued at an amazing rate and both sides exchanged scores with Ireland troubling the score keeper through a behind and over from O’Sullivan and Devenney respectively. Harvey responded with an over but Ireland got the next three scores with behinds from Francie Grehan and Joyce, and another over from the Galway full forward putting his side 68-49 ahead with four minutes remaining.

We then had the first dust up of the series with Johnny Crowley and Damien Hardwick being sin binned. In fact the entire Irish bench also found time to get involved but order was resumed after a minute. Matthew Lloyd hit the Australians last score of the game but there was still time for Tadgh Kennelly to hit a mighty over to leave his side 20-point winners, and bring the International Series Trophy back to Ireland.
It was a proud day for Ireland when they showed their professional counterparts that amateur GAA players are more than capable of competing when properly prepared. Ireland now have won three of the four series since the game was resumed in 1998, and look like they could dominate the hybrid game unless Australia treat the whole affair with greater importance.

Final score - Ireland 72 (2-17-9) Australia (1-13-7)

Ireland - Cormac Sullivan; Graham Canty, Darren Fay, Sean Marty Lockhart; Sean Og De Paor, Kieran McGeeney, Anthony Rainbow; Dara O’Se, Seamus Moynihan; Dermot Earley (3), Michael Donnellan (3), Tadgh Kennelly (15); Graham Geraghty (11), Anthony Tohill (6), Brendan Devenney (9).
Interchange players - Coman Goggins, Francie Grehan (1), Cormac McAnallen (1), Ciaran McManus, Padraig Joyce (10), Johnny Crowley (6), Eamon O’Hara, Brendan Ger O’Sullivan (7).

Australia - Simon Goodwin; Damien Hardwick, Darren Gaspar, Adam Ramanauskas; Stuart Maxfield (5), Brenton Sanderson, David King; Adam Goodes (3), Andrew McLeod; Craig Bradley (1), Josh Francou (3), Blake Caracella; Brent Harvey (9), Matthew Lloyd (16), Joel Smith (3).
Interchange players - Nick Stevens (1), Nigel Lappin, Joel Bowden (1), Chris Scott, Simon Black (1), Warren Tredrea, Brad Ottens, Matthew Lappin (9).

Umpires - Brett Allen (Australia), Pat McEnaney (Ireland).


FIRST TEST
Ireland tame the Aussies


Ten points down at one stage, Ireland performed an heroic comeback in Melbourne and assisted by a bit of good fortune won the test by six points. In the end it was Armagh defender Kieran McGeeney who was to prove to be Ireland’s goal scoring hero.

Ireland 59 (2-13-8)
Australia 53 (1-13-8)

Brian McEniff came in for severe criticism twelve months ago and many questioned his ability to perform the job. His task may be only half done but the Donegal man will sleep well tonight, and his critics will have to hold their tongues.

It was a game that was slow to start but the excitement levels and scoring rate made the final thirty minutes compulsive viewing. Ireland gave their opponents far too much space early on but once the Irish management solved that problem Ireland became a much more competitive force.

In conditions that were blustery and at times wet Ireland overcame a hesitant start to go into an early 11-3 lead after just twelve minutes. Matthew Lloyd opened the scoring for the home side after a foul by Darren Fay 20 seconds into the game, and the Australians dominated possession in those early moments but their accuracy in front of goal was less than impressive.

In Ireland’s first attack up the field interchange player Brendan Devenney kicked a great three pointer and within a minute captain Anthony Tohill claimed a mark 30 yards out and kicked it over the bar to put Ireland into the lead for the first time. Great work by Anthony Rainbow then set up Tohill for a sliding mark. The Derry man composed himself and kicked it over the bar again. His role in the game was highly impressive even at this early stage and Australia acted quickly by changing the marker on the big Swatragh man.

Devenney really started to come into the game and won two score able marks in the 12th and 13th minutes, but only managed a behind on both occasions. Australia then scored the next four points, the pick of which was a three pointer by Matthew Lloyd who was causing Darren Fay quite a few problems in the early stages, but Fay recovered to become one of the games’ most impressive performers. Brett Harvey narrowed the gap to just one point before Cormac McAnallen hit the best score of the quarter to leave his side 14 to 10 ahead when the hooter went.

End of first quarter: Ireland 14 (0-4-2) Australia 10 (0-3-1)

Two fine overs from Devenney stretched Ireland’s lead to ten, 20-10 seven minutes into the second quarter. The period started very scrappily but Australia seemed to be coming more to terms with the game. They started creating space and working the ball wide when Ireland kept going straight down the middle.

In the next eight minutes Australia were on fire and outscored the visitors by 16 points to nil. All the scores came from marks in front of goal with Simon Black, Bowden (twice), Johnson and Harvey hitting three pointers. It was a spell when Ireland looked listless and at times inept. Their inability to find men when kicking out of defence was giving Australia chance after chance, and Ireland were fortunate not to concede a goal when Cormac Sullivan was stranded away from his net. Simon Black screwed his shot wide much to the relief of Brian McEniff’s side.

Padraic Joyce hit a point when a three pointer looked far easier and Michael Donnellan made a fine mark, but again hit wide from twenty metres out to leave Ireland six points down at half time. Things were starting to look ominous for the traveling side as Australia’s use of interchange players, their better tackling skills and the greater fitness started to become ever more apparent.

The biggest problem was Ireland’s apparent tactical naivety in comparison to the Australians. Cormac Sullivan for some reason was taking his kick outs from the ground and it was of no real advantage to his side, while Simon Goodwin was at no time opposed when hitting his own kick outs from his hands. It was a strange call from the Ireland management. However, McEniff changed the ploy for the remainder of the game and Ireland looked far more accomplished for the move.

Half time: Ireland 22 (0-6-4) Australia 28 (0-8-4)

Whatever McEniff had to say at half time worked a treat. Ireland started to put increasing pressure on the lose man and as such Australia found it increasingly difficult to find their men for easy marks.
Graham Geraghty made a mark after 30 seconds and hit a massive three pointer, and from the kick out Ireland won possession and Geraghty hit an over from play to level the game at 28 points each with only 42 minutes played. Australia’s 38-year-old captain Craig Bradley was an inspired presence in defence for the home side as he cleared ball after ball and showed great bravery. If the first forty minutes lacked bite then the third quarter more than made up for it with some massive hits going in from both sides.



Australia better use of interchange players was giving them an extra advantage and in Blake Caracella they had a danger man that Ireland couldn’t contain. The big full forward hit an over and with 51 minutes gone he found himself one-on-one with Cormac Sullivan. The Aussie’s had three forwards against only Kieran McGeeney and Caracella’s fisted shot came back of the post before he knocked the rebound to the net to put his side nine points clear.

Simon Goodes and Dermot Earley exchanged overs before Harvey hit a behind to put his side ten clear. Johnny Crowley fired over a sideline ball for a three pointer after Tohill had a shot on goal blocked. Ireland started to put the Aussie’s under extreme pressure and Graham Geraghty intercepted a terrible kick out from Simon Goodwin and he fed Tohill who scrambled the ball to the net. Dara O’Se then fired a behind to leave the sides level at the end of the third quarter. It was a vital comeback for the tourists as they could ill afford to give the Australian a lead entering the final quarter when the fitness of the professionals had proved decisive in prior tests.

End of third quarter: Ireland 41 (1-10-5) Australia 41 (1-10-5)



Six minutes into the final quarter Ireland had moved into an unbelievable 13-point lead that would set them up for the win. Devenney hit a fine over before Seamus Moynihan scored a behind. Then came the crucial score of the half. Kieran McGeeney picked up possession in his own half and ran forty yards before he hit a speculative shot from 60 yards out. Simon Goodwin in goals for the Australian flapped and the ball ended in the net to put Ireland ten points clear and Tadgh Kennelly then hit another over.

Adam Goodes reduced the gap before Graham Geraghty hit a behind and then an amazing over from 50 yards out. With four minutes to go Ireland were 13 up and two quick overs and a behind reduced the Irish lead to just six points. Both sides then swapped behinds to leave Ireland 59-53 winners.

Those final flurry of scores will keep Australia in contention for the second test, and Ireland were incensed with some of the decisions of the home umpire which allowed the Aussies to score ten points in the last few minutes. It is still all up for grabs as both sides move to Adelaide for the final test.

Ireland: C. Sullivan; A. Rainbow, D. Fay, SM Lockhart; E. O’Hara, S. Moynihan (1), S. Og de Paor; A. Tohill (13), D. O Se (1), P. Joyce (1), T. Kennelly (3), M. Donnellan (1); G. Geraghty (10), D. Earley (3), J. Crowley (3). Interchange players: C. Whelan, K. McGeeney (6), C. McManus, C. McAnallen (3), G. Canty, B. Devenney (14), MF Russell, N. Buckley.

Australia: S. Goodwin, B. Sanderson, D. White, J. Smith, C Scott, C Bradley, A. Goodes (9), J. Bowden (10), D. Chick, B. Caracella (10), S. Black (4), Tredrea, M. Lloyd (8), McLeod, Gaspar. Interchange players: S. Maxfield, Francou, M Lappin, J Johnson (3), N Stevens, Hardwick, Ramanauskas, B Harvey (8), King, N Lappin (1), M Nicks.

Referees: Brett Allen, Australia, Pat McEnaney, Ireland.






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