Ireland 116 Australia 37, Ireland win series on aggregate 173-72
Australia’s indigenous experiment looks doomed following their 79 points thumping in the International Rules second Test at Croke Park.
The AFL will come under pressure to field their strongest possible team if the hybrid game survives this embarrassing series, which Ireland simply ran away with, scoring a massive 101 aggregate win.
Australia’s all-indigenous team simply could not compete with an Ireland side that chalked up a record scoreline.
Having eased to a 22 point success in the opening test in Cavan, they romped to a 79 points demolition of their sorry opponents at GAA Headquarters.
Ireland shrugged off a handful of early skirmishes to get down to the real business of handing out a footballing lesson to their out-classed visitors.
They quickly got to the pace of the game to open up a nine points to three lead in the opening five minutes.
Lee Keegan, Chrissy McKaigue and Ciaran Sheehan all slotted over early points, with Sharrod Wellingham and Eddie Betts hitting the target at the other end.
But Ireland took a firm grip on the game and tightened their control of the series with two goals in the space of four minutes.
Skipper Michael Murphy fielded a long ball to lay off for Ciaran McManus to rifle home the opening six-pointer in the 12th minute.
And the same duo combined to slice open the Australian defence and send Jack McCaffrey in to blast home a second for a commanding 18 points lead.
A crude late tackle on Colm Boyle by Lindsay Thomas led to the Mayo man being stretchered off after 13 minutes, but Paul Earley’s men continued to maintain their composure and discipline.
By the end of the opening quarter, they had built up a 27-8 advantage, and turned the screw in the second quarter with impressive levels of athleticism and vastly superior teamwork, not to mention their mastery of the round ball, which the Australians struggled to work with.
Australia did have overs from Lewis Jetta and Jake Neade, but Ireland reeled off 14 points without reply to put the series virtually out of sight.
Sean Kavanagh pulled the ball back from the end line to set up Ciaran Kilkenny for his side’s third six-pointer, and classy scores from McManus, Munnelly and Keegan left the tourists with a mountain to climb.
By the halfway stage, the home side led by 53-16, and with a massive 59 points aggregate advantage, they were well on their way.
Australia’s traditional resurgence in the third quarter failed to emerge, with Ireland increasing their dominance.
The accuracy of their passing and the clever use of the mark, in particular by Murphy and McManus, helped the home side put their opponents out of sight.
Australia scored just three times, through Lewis Jetta, Eddie Betts and Lindsay Thomas, while the Irish ran amok, adding overs through Murphy, Sheehan and McManus.
And they exposed the Australian defence once again for a fourth goal. Murphy and Colm Byrne combined for the latter to cross for McManus to punch home his second.
Ireland took a 78-25 lead into the final segment, and continued to pummel their unfortunate opponents, Paddy McBrearty smashing home the goal of the game to stretch the gap out to 65 points.
Australia did get in for a couple of consolation goals through Eddie Betts and Jake Neade, but the Ireland quickly recovered from this minor setback to lay on a display of champagne football in the closing stages.
Sean Cavanagh pushed them through the 100 points barrier, and Murphy got the slightest of touches to Paul Conroy’s pass for goal number six, before receiving the Cormac McAnallen Trophy from GAA president Liam O’Neill.
Ireland: P O’Rourke, N McGee, M Shields (0-1-2), C McKaigue (0-1-0), L Keegan (0-2-3), Z Tuohy, J McCaffrey (1-0-0), A Walsh (0-0-1), S Cavanagh (0-1-2), P Flynn (0-1-1), C Byrne, C Sheehan (0-1-1), R Munnelly (0-3-2), M Murphy (1-4-0), C McManus (2-4-0).
Interchange players: C Kilkenny (1-1-0), P McBrearty (1-1-2), C Begley (0-0-2), C McKeever, J Doyle (0-1-1), P Conroy.
Australia: A McGrath, J Harbrow (0-0-1), C Yarran, T Armstrong, S Wellingham (0-1-0), S Edwards, N Lovett-Murray, D Wells, C Ellis-Yolmen, M Stokes (0-0-1), S Moltop, Alwyn Davey, J Neade (1-1-0), Lewis Jetta (0-2-0), E Betts (1-1-1).
Interchange players: Leroy Jetta, L Thomas (0-1-0), Aaron Davey (0-0-1), J Hill (0-1-0), D Barry.
Referees: Maurice Deegan (Ire) & Matt Stevic (Aus).