Zach Tuohy says Ireland can’t afford to dwell too much on ensuring Australia don’t enjoy as strong a third quarter tomorrow as they did last Sunday.
Ireland were outscored 22-8 in that 18-minute period, which is traditionally a purple patch for the AFL team. Two years ago in Croke Park, Australia won the “championship quarter” 16 points to seven.
It’s a factor, the Laois man readily accepts, but Ireland will be looking for a performance across the entire 72 minutes. “You’d love to win every quarter. You can’t afford any blowouts in any quarter. We addressed it. We know what we did wrong and hopefully it won’t happen again. It (third quarter) will be a focus but no more than the first or second or fourth.
“It’s winnable. We knew we were never out of it. There wasn’t much we needed to clean up to get ourselves back into it. We’re within distance — we think we have a great chance of winning it.” Selector Pádraic Joyce also emphasised the positives as the group put the finishing touches to their preparations in Perth. “We have to cut out mistakes from the last day — if we do we have a good chance of cutting it back. It’s only 1-1 in our game; that would get us nine points back. We had four very good goal chances the last day we didn’t capitalise on. We had eight one-pointers and five wides — that’s 13 shots at goal that didn’t get us very much. If we converted half of them, we could have won.
“At the same time, the way we played overall, we were probably lucky to get out with a 10-point defeat. We have to get our game right, get performance levels up. We were disappointed with our ball handling and probably only three or four played to the level they can. We have huge room for improvement — be a bit more composed on the ball.”
In keeping with the sentiments of some of the players, the former Galway star believes Ireland have to get back to doing what they do best. “We need to play a little more GAA... move the ball quicker. We found it very hard to transfer the ball from the half-backs to half-forwards quickly. And we left too much of a gap between that and the full-forward line.
“We left Australia a lot of room in the middle of the field, allowing them to handball the ball away and create an overlap.”
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