IRS: Brave Irish effort falls short as Aussies regain Cormac McAnallen Cup

November 18, 2017

Ireland's Enda Smith is tackled by Kade Simpson of Australia during the second test at the Domain Stadium, Perth ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Australia 53 (0.15.8)
Ireland 50 (2.10.8)

Ireland will travel home from Australia empty-handed after a gutsy second test performance came up short at the Domain Stadium, Perth today.

The Aidan O'Shea captained tourists entered the game looking to claw back a 10-point deficit following last weekend's defeat but they wilted when their Australian opponents moved up through the gears in the third and fourth quarters and finished three points in arrears.

30,116 spectators watched a determined Ireland side take the game to their hosts straight from the off and their efforts was rewarded with goals from Gary Brennan and Chris Barrett.

By the end of the first quarter they had built up a 17-11 lead.

After flying out mid-week to replace the injured Pearse Hanley, Darren Hughes missed a glorious chance to add Ireland's third goal in the 7th minute of the second quarter.

Shane Walsh's pace created plenty of headaches for Australia and a blistering run by the Galway forward created the opening for the Monaghan man but Australian goalkeeper Brendon Goddard proved equal to the task.

Ireland's 'player of the series' Conor McManus continued his rich vein of scoring form and finished with 16 points to his name.

He brought the second quarter scoring to a close with a fine curling effort after Joel Selwood was shown a black card for a late hit on Barrett.

Niall Morgan's accuracy from his kick-outs and a solid defensive effort were also vital ingredients in Ireland's 30 (2.5.3) to 17 (0.4.5) half-time cushion.

In the context of the overall series, it left the team in green ahead by three points at that stage.

Traditionally in this hybrid game, the Australians target the 'moving' third quarter but Walsh drew first blood for Ireland with an 'over'.

As expected, the Shaun Burgoyne captained Australia upped the ante considerably as the quarter progressed and Dayne Zorko, Nat Fyfe, Chad Wingard and Eddie Betts found the target to cut Ireland's lead to three points - 37-33.

Walsh spurned a glorious goal scoring chance in the 15th minute but Ciaran Sheehan and McManus steadied Ireland's nerves with a couple of three pointers and the third quarter finished with the scoreboard reading 41-34 in favour of Joe Kernan's side.

Port Adelaide's Wingard reduced the deficit further with the first 'over' of the fourth quarter and the pressure was very much on the visitors after Rory Sloane made it a one point game in the 3rd minute.

Niall Morgan came to his team's rescue with a fine save to deny Wingard a goal in the 9th minute but Australia took the lead (46-45) thanks to a superb kick from Kade Simpson two minutes later.

As the clock ticked down, Ireland needed goals to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat but three pointers from Betts and Zorko applied the gloss to Australia's 13-point (116-103) series win.

Australia - B Goddard, S Burgoyne (3), R Tarrant, K Simpson, R Laird (3), L Shuey (5), D Zorko (9), S Higgins, P Dangerfield, R Sloane (6), E Betts (9), N Fyfe (3), C Wingard (6), B Brown (4), N Jetta, T Boak, J Gunston (1), Z Merrett (4), J Selwood (BC).

Ireland - N Morgan, B Harrison, E Cadogan, S Powter, C Sheehan (3), Z Tuohy, C Barrett (6), K Feely, A O'Shea, S Walsh (6), D Hughes (1), N Sludden, P Geaney, M Murphy (6), C McManus (16), P Crowley, K Clarke, P Murphy (1), G Brennan (7), N Grimley (3), E Smith, N Murphy (1), C Sweeney.

Referees - M Deegan, M Stevic.

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