Extra man proves costly for Aussies

Ireland 31 Australia 7

Then, with around 10 minutes to go, the two referees called each team into the centre of the pitch and started a head-count. Ireland had brought it to the ref's attention the Aussies were playing with 16 players.

Sure enough, they did have one additional player and all 62 of their points were scratched. The laws of International Rules (Rule. 5.5.1) stipulates if one team is found to have an extra player, all the points they scored in that game up to that point will be cancelled. This interesting ruling has its roots in Aussie Rules, where teams have been known to try and pull a fast one in a delicately-poised game by throwing on an extra player.

However, there was nothing delicately-poised about this match. Australia were cruising by 38 points when the extra player was found, and it's particularly harsh they are effectively out of the series because of this. Indeed, had Australia being more used to kicking with a round ball, their lead would have been even bigger as much of their scores were behinds.

Some of their play was scintillating at times, particularly the attacking prowess of Josh Willoughby, Farren Ray and Benet Copping.

Australia were 16-0 up by the time Ireland got their first score, a fine over by Fintan Goold. It was only to be one of four Irish scores in the first half, two in each quarter, as the team looked mesmerised by the Aussie's speed and movement.

Goold, a Cork youngster, was one of Ireland's better players. His fielding was especially impressive . Alongside Goold, Meath young defender Kevin Reilly showed himself to be moulded from the same granite as Darren Fay, while Galway's Shane Hogan and Mayo's Andrew Hanley also caught the eye with their industry.

It wasn't until the third quarter Ireland began to play with a bit of panache. And in the 6th minute of that period, Cork's Paul Kerrigan capitalised on a comedy of errors in the Aussie defence, to bang the ball home. The goal, at that time only a consolation, turned out to be vital.

The paltry crowd only came alive after Australia were docked their points, and in a way so did the game. With the psychological advantage, Ireland finally looked a test for Australia and the final ten minutes turned out to be quite rip-roaring stuff. Pity there wasn't many people around to watch it.

Scorers: Ireland F Goold (7 points), P Kerrigan (6 points), D Barrett (5 points), C Hughes, S Hogan (4 points each), D Culloty, D Egan (3 points each), S MCCarthy (1 point) Australia : B Morrison (4 points), B Davies (3 points)

IRELAND: P Kearney, D Barrett, G Bradshaw, D Culloty, D Egan, B Faherty, I Fleming, F Goold, S Graham, A Hanley, S Hogan, C Hughes, P Kerrigan, M lynch, S McCarthy, S P Henry, J McCormack, B Moran, J O'Brien, P O'Reilly, J O'Sullivan, S Prendergast, L Quinn, K Reilly, C Vernon

AUSTRALIA: J Willoughby, K Archibald, B Stanton, L Peel, B Morrision, A Walker, D Trotter, I Thompson, C Johnson, I Thompson, R Griffin, B Drew, B Waters, B McLean, A McQualter, F Ray, B Davies, B Copping, C Stewart, P Richardson, S Garrabua, M Hodge, R Tambling, H Grundy, B Sharp, T Schmidt, S Butler, B Hall, T Chaplin

Referees: D Coldrick (Ireland), D Sully (Australia).

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