Ireland withstand late rally to claim Test win

October 24, 2008

Ireland's Ciaran McKeever is tackled by Australia's Jared Brennan
Australia (0-12-8) 44 pts Ireland (3-6-9) 45 pts Ireland claimed a narrow victory over Australia in Friday's first International Rules test, but the home side will fancy their chances of claiming an overall series victory after an unanswered 16-point haul in the final quarter in Perth. Goals from Leighton Glynn in the second quarter and Sean Cavanagh and Stephen McDonnell after half-time put Ireland in control, but a 17-point fourth quarter advantage evaporated under the heat of an Australian charge before the final hooter. A disappointing first quarter produced only one over - a point in Gaelic football terms - with team captain Cavanagh on target as Ireland posted a 9-1 lead. But the standard improved greatly thereafter, with the Aussies dominating the second and fourth quarters but Ireland enjoying the upper hand in the third. A goal from Wicklow's pocket powerhouse Glynn early in the second quarter helped Ireland into a 14-point lead but the home side stepped up a gear to go in level at the break (19-19). Kangaroos Mattie Campbell, who saw a weak first quarter penalty easily saved by Ireland goalkeeper David Gallagher, hit two overs before two exceptional long-range efforts from Adelaide Crows star Scott Thompson. It could have been even worse for Ireland but Gallagher was quickly off his line to block Marc Murphy's goal-bound effort over the bar for a three-pointer. If the second quarter belonged to Australia, the third was undoubtedly Ireland's, with Cavanagh driving a rising shot past goalkeeper Nathan Bock for the visitors' second goal before taking his personal tally to 13 with an over. Kieran Donaghy took a trademark high catch in front of the posts for a mark, converting the chance with ease, and a scruffy six-pointer from Stephen McDonnell extended the lead 17 (41-24). An over from Murphy, a second of the game for the impressive Carlton youngster, closed the gap at the end of the third quarter but the 17-point lead was restored when Glynn "overed" at the start of the fourth. From there on in, however, Australia cranked up the intensity to pin the Irish side back into their own half. Murphy hit two more overs - taking his own haul to 12 points overall - and Leigh Montagna, Michael Osborne and David Rodan also hit three-pointers to cut the deficit to one. Ireland held out for the Test win, however, aided by the fact that Australia finished the game with 14 men following a yellow card for Australia's Campbell Brown for a fierce shoulder charge on Galway's Finian Hanley. That incident apart, however, the game on the whole was free-flowing and disciplined, with none of the violence which had put the entire series in peril following the Croke Park debacle in 2006. Teams: Australia: Nathan Bock; Michael Firrito, Brad Sewell, Campbell Brown; Ryan Crowley, Drew Petrie, Adam Selwood; Brent Harvey (0-1-1, 4 pts), Scott Thompson (0-2-0, 6 pts); Scott Pendlebury, Daniel Motlop (0-0-1, 1 pt), David Rodan (0-1-0, 3 pts); Michael Osborne (0-1-0, 3 pts), Shaun Burgoyne, Mattie Campbell (0-2-2, 8 pts). Interchange: Matthew Boyd, Jared Brennan (0-0-2, 2 pts), Nathan Foley, Roger Hayden (0-0-1, 1 pt), Leigh Montagna (0-1-1, 4 pts), Marc Murphy (0-4-0, 12 pts), Max Rooke, Kade Simpson, Dale Thomas, Daniel Wells. Ireland: David Gallagher; Aidan O'Mahony, Finian Hanley, John Keane; Bryan Cullen (0-0-1, 1 pt), Kevin Reilly, Ciarán McKeever; Graham Canty, Colm Begley; Enda McGinley, Seán Cavanagh (1-2-1, 13 pts), Joe McMahon (0-0-1, 1 pt); Steven McDonnell (1-0-2, 8 pts), Kieran Donaghy (0-1-1, 4 pts), Benny Coulter. Interchange: Paddy Bradley (0-1-0, 3 pts), Leighton Glynn (1-1-1, 10 pts), Aaron Kernan, Ciarán Lyng (0-1-0, 3 pts), Justin McMahon, Michael Meehan (0-0-2, 2 pts), John Miskella, Pearse O'Neill, Tom Parsons.

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