Tohill keeps players grounded after record win

Ireland manager Anthony Tohill will not allow himself or his players to get carried away by their record-breaking first Test win over Australia in Melbourne.

Ireland manager Anthony Tohill will not allow himself or his players to get carried away by their record-breaking first Test win over Australia in Melbourne.

Barring a complete collapse in the second clash on the Gold Coast next Friday, the men in green will recapture the Cormac McAnallen Cup for the first time since 2008.

Today's impressive 80-36 triumph for Tohill's men saw Ireland lead from start to finish and totally dominate the home side in all areas of the pitch.

Ireland's mastery of the round ball started at the back where captain and goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton had a standout 26 kicks, 12 handballs, 38 disposals and 13 marks.

The forwards took their chances with aplomb and the likes of Leighton Glynn, Pearce Hanley and Kevin McKernan covered a huge amount of ground.

Never one to overcelebrate, Tohill warned afterwards: "We've got work to do. It would be ridiculous for us to sit and think the Series is done.

"If we can win by 44 points tonight, Australia can win by 45 points next week. If we're anything less than we were tonight, then we run the risk.

"We've got ourselves in a good position to win the Series but it's no more than that. It's only half-time and we won't be getting carried away."

Apart from the scoring contribution of their captain Brad Green, who finished with an 11-point tally, Australia were collectively poor and a shadow of the side that annexed the title in Dublin last year.

The lack of big names in the home team did little to boost the attendance figure (22,921) at the Etihad Stadium. There is a growing sense that interest in International Rules is waning in both countries, and the Australians' weak display today suggests that they are just making up the numbers.

Only four of Rodney Eade's squad have played International Rules at this level before and the Australian media has criticised the selection of just two All-Australian winners - their equivalent of Gaelic football's All-Stars - and only one club captain.

Reaction Down Under also argued that the lack of competitiveness in the first Test is 'another blow to the credibility' of a Series which is now destined to be won by the touring side for the fourth successive year.

Clearly Tohill got his preparation just right and his Australian counterpart Rodney Eade either underestimated the lengths Ireland would go to or just reckoned that his players would adapt quickly to the round ball.

The Derry man knew his charges were capable of delivering a winning performance first time out. "I probably sensed two or three weeks ago that we were going to be very difficult to beat," he admitted.

"You know these things when you're involved with teams and players. You just get that sense among the group that the lads mean business. They were very focused and determined."

Tohill also commended the roles taken on by the Irish players who have Aussie Rules experience - former Premiership winner Tadhg Kennelly, Tommy Walsh, Pearce Hanley, Zach Tuohy and Colm Begley.

"You saw the performances we got tonight out of our AFL players, they were superb, absolutely superb. Their contribution for us was huge.

"We accepted from the outset we've got players who can't tackle and we've got players who can tackle. The players that can't tackle, we focused on their strengths and tried to encourage them to help them out with their tackling."

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up


Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.