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Aussies lift Coca Cola Trophy

20 October 2002

Australia 42 (107) Ireland 42 (100)

A blistering ten-minute scoring spree by Australia in the opening stages of the final quarter was enough to secure victory for the visitors in the International Rules Series at a rain soaked Croke Park on Sunday 20th October.

Ireland led 37 - 18 going into the last quarter after holding Australia scoreless in the third. But the men from down under scored 18 points inside ten minutes of the fourth quarter to rattle Ireland in front of over 71,000 spectators. To their credit Ireland battled back and the final five minutes were unbearable as only the minimum separated the sides. Both Graham Geraghty and Padraig Joyce wasted good chances to put Ireland back in front but it was not to be. The game finished 42 points all but Australia had led 65 - 58 after the first test, to leave the overall final score at 107 - 100 to Australia.

The opening exchanges of the match were quite poor and lack lustre in atrocious conditions at GAA Headquarters. An icy gale swept across the pitch and made handling almost impossible. However both sides gave it their all and what the game might have lacked in quality, it certainly made up for in commitment. Trevor Giles, Ciaran McManus, Seamus Moynihan and Ciaran McManus were the pick of the bunch for Ireland, with Dessie Dolan again proving his potency ending up as joint top Irish scorer with Cormac McAnallen.

Ireland enjoyed an eight point advantage at the end of the first quarter as John O’Keefe’s charges handled the conditions better than the Aussies. However Australia were the first to get off the mark with a behind by Christopher Judd after three minutes. But Dolan replied with an over a minute later and Australia failed to score again until the dying minutes of the opening quarter. An over from Geraghty and a behind by Dolan all followed inside the opening ten minutes.



McAnallen, Brendan Jer O’Sullivan and McManus all found the target before Robert Murphy scored Australia’s first over after 17 minutes. At the end of the quarter Ireland led 12 - 4.

The Aussies came out of the blocks early in the second quarter with an over and a behind by Nathan Brown closing the gap inside the first minute. Stephen Milne added an over before Giles kicked a behind. Then in the eighth minute the Australian’s reverted to thuggery, when Brad Scott punched Geraghty in the face repeatedly. He got sent off for his crime but it was such a cowardly and vicious display of fist fighting that he should never be allowed compete in the series again. As the two players held each other by the collar Scott lashed out with a closed fist. As the Meath forward ducked, Scott struck again and then as Geraghty fell to the ground he was smacked once more. To Geraghty’s credit he never retaliated or tried to get involve in a brawl.

From there on in the game was played in a good sporting fashion and after Eamon O’Hara shot an over, Geraghty registered a behind to restore Ireland’s lead. But a brace of overs, one each by Chris Johnson and Brown drew the sides level before Adem Yve put his side one in front at half time, 18 - 17.

The third quarter was where Ireland lost the game in the first test but it appeared that it would be where they won it in the second, after they scored 20 points without reply. The pendulum seemed to swing in Ireland’s favour after McAnallen fired home their first goal of the game. Padraic Joyce’s shot was foot blocked but as it rolled out McAnallen pulled the trigger soccer style and blasted it high to the back of the net. Tadgh Kennelly scored two behinds and Giles, Joyce and Derek Savage all registered scores before Kennelly notched up another behind with the final kick of the third quarter. Ireland 37 - Australia 18.



However the Aussies steamrolled Ireland in the fourth, with Luke Darcy fisting home a crucial goal from a high ball in by Adam Simpson after four minutes. Brown and Josh Francou both scored an over apiece in the seventh. Judd scored another in the eight-minute and Brown again in the ninth. Australia trailed by one on the day, but led by six on aggregate.

Eamon O’Hara scored an over for Ireland in the 13th minute and Joyce had a great opportunity to score another two minutes later but the Galway man misdirected his free kick. The determined McManus scored a behind moments later and then Geraghty was perfectly placed, directly in front of the goals, about 30 metres out with a free kick. However the wind caught the ball and forced it for a behind.

It was Ireland’s last score as Chris Johnson fired a killer over after 19 minutes and with time up he was allowed kick another one, amazingly as the Ireland team exited the pitch.



Ireland: P Barden, J Bergin, G Canty, P Christie, R Cosgrove, D Dolan (7), G Geraghty (5), T Giles (2), C Holmes, P Joyce (4), E Kelly, T Kennelly (3), A Lynch, C McAnallen (7), K McGeeney, C McManus (4), D Meehan, S Moynihan, E O’Hara (6), D O’Se, T O’Se, B Jer O’Sullivan (1), D Savage (3), S Cluxton.

Australia: C Johnson (9), B Montgomery, D Kerr, B Scott, C Judd (4), A Simpson, J Clement, J Francou (3), S Crawford, T Edwards, A Yze (1), L Darcy (6), W Tredrea. N Brown (13), R Murphy (3), A Kellaway, C Bradley, M Bickley, C Bruce, C Cornes, A Lekkas, S Milne (3).



FIRST TEST

Aussie’s Rule first test

Australia 65
Ireland 58

A real Jekyll and Hyde performance by Australia saw them claw their way back from a 19 points deficit at half-time to beat Ireland 65 - 58 in the opening game of the International Rules series at Croke Park on Sunday 13th October.

A crowd of just over 44,000 turned up at a rainy GAA Headquarters for the clash and Ireland looked to be coasting to victory early on as Australia lacked ideas and creativity. Ireland were playing well and forcing the visitors to chase after shadows as they worked the ball up the field quickly and fluidly. On the other hand the Aussies persistently hoofed high balls in towards the Ireland goals without ever troubling Peter Burke.

They seemed to have only one game plan and Ireland had it figured out within minutes. The high ball tactic was used in the opening two quarters with little success but in the third and fourth quarters Australia played like a completely different team. They had great movement and pressurised the Irish backs into mistakes and didn’t allow them any time on the ball. Any high balls they put in were well orchestrated and directed towards a player, rather than just hit and hope.

Prior to the game there was a minute silence observed for the atrocity in Bali, and right from the outset Ireland grabbed control of the match and were allowed dictate the tempo. Tadgh Kennelly opened their account in the opening minute with an over from a free (An over is worth three points, a behind one point, and a goal six points). However the Aussies responded with a Daniel Kerr over a minute later before Meath star Graham Geraghty restored Ireland’s lead with another over. Indeed Ireland finished the first quarter with a flurry of scores from Darragh O’Se, Dessie Dolan, Joe Bergin and Ciaran McManus to give them a 21 - 10 advantage at the end of the quarter.

Cameron Bruce hit an early behind in the second quarter for Australia but Galway forward Padraic Joyce sent over a three pointer soon after to the delight of the crowd. The physical aspect of the game was always threatening to come to the fore during the match and there were a few bad tempered moments throughout.

In the fifth minute of the second quarter Australia’s David Neitz was sent off for 15 minutes after a high shoulder charge resulting in Paul McGrane receiving a nasty gash to his nose. An over apiece by Joyce and Ray Cosgrove in the 10th and 11th minutes furthered Ireland’s lead before McManus and Joyce again added behinds. Evan Kelly joined Neitz after he also received his marching orders for a punch on Josh Francou. A one-in-all-in row followed. An over by Derek Savage in the last minute of the quarter fired Ireland into a 38 - 19 advantage at half-time. The Aussies looked rattled and the Irish were well on course for victory.

However Australia came out a rejuvenated force and totally dominated the third quarter. The turning point in the game was in the 6th minute of the quarter when Joyce was through on goal. He had Geraghty unmarked outside of him but decided to try himself. It was a great opportunity for an Irish goal but they ended up only getting a behind as Joyce fired wide of the goals. At the time Ireland led 40 - 23. Two minutes later Craig Bradley fired over a behind and from the resulting kick-out Australia scored a goal.

Burke passed a short ball out to Kieran McGeeney but the Armagh man was caught in possession as the Australians ran in on him. Chris Johnson got in the tackle before McGeeney could release the ball and it dropped out to Matthew Pavlich. He was straight through on goals and hammered the ball low and hard to the bottom corner of the net.

Christopher Judd and Johnson each scored an over during the next three minutes and Ireland were dumbstruck. Kennelly tried to lift his colleagues by kicking a behind and an over in 13th the 14th minutes but to no avail. Johnson responded with an over before Luke Darcy kicked a behind from a free. Pavlich scored another over and although Kennelly managed to fist over a behind in the last minute Australia had still closed the gap to only two points, 45 - 43.



Within seconds of the final quarter Australia took the lead for the first time in the game through a Nathan Brown over. Luke Dempsey added another, also inside the opening minute. Just as Ireland began to reduce Australia’s lead Daniel Kerr scored their second goal in the tenth minute. A minute later Pavlich scored an over and Ireland were 13 behind.

Luckily for the home side they scored a crucial goal in the 12th minute when Westmeath player Dessie Dolan tapped the ball home. The goal was set-up by Joyce who made up for his previous mistake by passing over to the unmarked Dolan.

In the 14th minute Peter Burke made a fantastic point-blank save from Adem Yve. The final score of the game came courtesy of a Nathan Brown over from a free in the 16th minute. However Ireland were lucky they did not concede a late goal after an Australian shot cannoned off the post and landed on the goal line. A scrum of players launched their bodies over the ball but the final whistle sounded and Australia had won by seven points. The second game takes place next Sunday in Croke Park when Ireland will hope to overturn the Aussie lead.

Ireland: P Burke, J Bergin (2), G Canty, R Cosgrove (3), D Dolan (12), G Geraghty (3), T Giles, P Joyce (9), E Kelly, T Kennelly (11), A Lynch, C McAnallen, K McGeeney, P McGrane, C McManus (5), D Meehan, S Moynihan, E O’Hara, D O’Se (4), T O’Se, B Jer O’Sullivan (6), A Rainbow, D Savage (3).

Australia: C Johnson (7), B Montgomery, D Kerr (10), B Scott, C Judd (4), A Simpson, J Clement, D Neitz, J Francou, S Crawford, T Edwards, A Yze (6), L Darcy (4), N Brown (15), A Kellaway, C Bradley (1), M Bickley, M Pavlich (17), M Scarlett, C Bruce (1), A Lekkas, S Milne, C Ling.








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