Ireland trail in second test

Australia 31 Ireland 18

Australia 31 Ireland 18

Ireland's chances of retaining the Cormac McAnallen Cup are already over at half-time in today's second International Rules Test at the Telstra Dome.

Pete McGrath's side trail by 31-18 and 49 aggregate points after a disappointing first two quarters in Melbourne.

The Irish started well, improving their kicking, passing and physicality from last week's Perth disaster and led 13-11 at the first quarter's hooter.

Team captain Padraic Joyce, Sean Cavanagh, Dessi Dolan and newcomer Ross Munnelly slotted overs for the visitors with Tyrone's championship top scorer Stephen O'Neill adding a behind.

However, a very poor second quarter which saw just a single over from Munnelly robbed Ireland of any momentum.

Australia increased their influence with a string of overs from the accurate Nick Davis, Andrew Lovett and Ryan O'Keefe while the hosts' co-captain Chris Johnson was deservedly sent off on 32 minutes for an appalling high arm challenge on Tyrone defender Phillip Jordan.

Cork referee Michael Collins was left with little option but to produce a red card as a wound-up Johnson sought further fisticuffs with Matty Forde and Ciaran McManus.

A Lovett over on 39 minutes pushed the Aussies into a 31-14 advantage on the night - a 53-point aggregate lead - but a Munnelly over and behind in the closing minute has given Ireland a little heart for the second half.

IRELAND: Mickey McVeigh (Down); Sean Og O'hAilpin (Cork), Tom Kelly (Laois), Ryan McMenamin (Tyrone); Philip Jordan (Tyrone), Bryan Cullen (Dublin), Anthony Lynch (Cork); Graham Canty (Cork), Sean Cavanagh (Tyrone); Ross Munnelly (Laois), Benny Coulter (Down), Brian Dooher (Tyrone); Padraic Joyce (Galway) (capt), Ronan Clarke (Armagh), Dessie Dolan (Westmeath).

Inter-change: Colm Cooper (Kerry), Matty Forde (Wexford), David Heaney (Mayo), Sean Marty Lockhart (Derry), Ciaran McDonald (Mayo), Ciaran McManus (Offaly), Stephen O'Neill (Tyrone), Tomas O’Se (Kerry).

Referees: Mathew James (Australia), Michael Collins (Cork, Ireland)

Scorers: Ireland: Overs: Munnelly 2, Joyce, Cavanagh, Dolan; Behinds: Munnelly, Cooper, O'Neill.

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