Mattie Donnelly in action against Australia’s Brent Harvey.
Picture: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Australia 56 Ireland 46
Australia gave Ireland a lesson in point-taking, as they claimed International Rules glory, before 40,000 spectators at Pattersons Stadium in Perth today.
A strong showing in the first half by the hosts, cost Ireland dearly as Australia claimed the Cormac McAnallen Trophy for the first time in four years.
Australia were more composed in front of the posts in the opening 35 minutes, and at the break they led by 35-7, having slotted over 11 three-pointers.
Ireland came back strongly on the restart, with Darren Hughes netting a vital goal, and good contributions from fellow Monaghan man Conor McManus and Tyrone’s Mattie Donnelly.
But Australia always held the lead, and managed to hold out for a 10-point victory.
This game began at the lightning pace we’ve come to expect from the hybrid code in recent years, but it was Australia who showed all the early running, as Ireland struggled to cope, particularly with the new rules regarding the short kick-out.
It took just 37 seconds for Australia to slot over their first of seven overs in the first quarter, with Steve Johnson on target.
The Geelong player bagged two overs in that first quarter, with team captain Joel Selwood, Luke Breust and Cha Wingard also on target, as Australia powered to a 22-4 lead, after dominating the opening 20 minutes.
Ireland were lucky not to be further in arrears during that first period, but Australia were also keen on goals early on.
After being top-scorer in their warmup game against a VFL selection Colm O’Neill popped over Ireland’s opening score at the end of the eighth minute, Australia once again bore down on the Ireland defence.
22’s goal shot was somehow kept out with the ball bobbing around the square, before Johnson pushed Australia 12-1 in front.
Australia quickly claimed a 14-point cushion, with great precision in front of the posts, and adapting extremely well to the round ball.
Australia moved 22-1 ahead after 17 minutes, before Michael Murphy claimed a much needed three-pointer to cut the gap to 18 points at the end of the opening quarter.
Ireland came out in determined fashion on the restart, but scores were at a premium despite their efforts
Australia’s tackles were well placed, and despite four attacks inside five minutes, Ireland yielded just one point, as Kerry’s David Moran managed a behind from a free.
The hosts ability to slot over valuable three-pointers continued to be key, with four of their five second quarter scores finishing over the black spot.
Johnson added the first of these two and a half minutes into the quarter, with Nick Riewalt also showing great accuracy.
Riewalt brought his tally to 10 points by the interval, with three overs during the quarter, as Australia stormed to a 28-point lead on a 35-7 score-line.
Scores from Pearce Hanley and Sean Cavanagh kept Ireland ticking over, but scoring chances were at a premium, with Laois’s Ross Munnelly also having an effort come off the crossbar in the 32nd minute.
Sean Cavanagh on the attack against Leigh Montagna.
Picture: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Ireland were forced to be alert in defence throughout, with Galway’s Finian Hanley blocking a goal shot off the line from Luke Breust late in the quarter.
Bruest added a behind to further extend his sides lead at the interval, and with Australia’s kicking far superior in front of the posts, Ireland really had to up their game on the restart.
Australia registered 11 overs to Ireland’s one, during the first half, but Paul Earley’s charges came good on the restart.
Buoyed on by excellent attacking play from Lee Keegan, Hughes, Mcmanus and Donnelly, Ireland firmly upped their game.
Ireland cut the gap to 13 point following a Colm Begley score three minutes into the final quarter, but Australia kept on top.
McManus and Sean Cavanagh kept the score-board ticking over, before Ireland had a goal disallowed after Cavanagh pushed the Australian keeper over the line.
A McManus three pointer cut the gap to 10 points with two minutes remaining, but Australia weren’t to end their unbeaten run at the venue, and they closed out this game well to claim their first victory in three Series.
Check out the match highlights, courtesy of TG4.
Scorers for Australia: S Johnson 12 (0-4-0); N Riewoldt 10 (0-3-1); C Wingard 9 (0-3-0); L Breust 4 (0-1-1); B Harvey 3 (0-1-0); J Selwood 3 (0-1-0); J McVeigh 6 (0-2-0); R Gray 5 (0-1-2); K Jack 3 (0-1-0); B Smith 1 (0-0-1).
Scorers for Ireland: C McManus 12 (0-4-0); D Hughes 7 (1-0-1); M Donnelly 6 (0-2-0); B Smith 6 own goal (1-0-0); M Murphy 3 (0-1-0); K McKernan 3 (0-1-0); C Begley 3 (0-1-0); P Hanley 2 (0-0-2); S Cavanagh 2 (0-0-2); C O'Neill 1 (0-0-1); D Moran 1 (0-0-1).
AUSTRALIA: 31. D Fletcher (Essendon); 16. K Jack (Sydney Swans), 7. H Taylor (Geelong), 33. B Smith (Adelaide); 5. S Mitchell (Hawthorn), 15. L Hodge (Hawthorn), 3. J McVeigh (Sydney Swans); 8. N Natanui (Western Bulldogs), 14. J Selwood (Geelong); 29. B Harvey (North Melbourne), 10. R Gray (Port Adelaide), 20. S Johnson (Geelong); 21. C Wingard (Port Adelaide), 22. L Breust (Hawthorn), 4. J Watson (Essendon).
Interchanges: 1. T Boak (Port Adelaide), 2. G Birchall (Hawthorn), 9. B Goddard (Essendon), 11. L Montagna (St Kilda), 12. N Riewoldt (St Kilda), 32. P Dangerfield (Adelaide); 33. B Smith (Adelaide), 38. T Rockliff (Brisbane Lions).
IRELAND: 23. P O'Rourke (Meath), 12. N McGee (Donegal), 6. F Hanley (Galway), 11. C McDonald (Tipperary); 13. C McKaigue (Derry), 10. J McCarthy (Dublin), 9. L Keegan (Mayo); 17. D Moran (Kerry), P Hanley (Mayo/Brisbane Lions); 3. S Cavanagh (Tyrone), 20. M Murphy (Donegal), 1. C Begley (Laois); 21. C O'Neill (Cork), 24. A O'Shea (Mayo), 16. C McManus (Monaghan).
Interchanges: 2. C Boyle (Mayo), 4. C Cregg (Roscommon), 5. M Donnelly (Tyrone), 8. D Hughes (Monaghan), 14. K McKernan (Down), 15. K McLoughlin (Mayo), 19. R Munnelly (Laois), 25. A Walsh (Cork).
Umpires: S Meredith (Australia), Marty Duffy (Ireland)