Australia defeat Ireland in Adelaide
International Rules Series First Test
AUSTRALIA 2-13-12 (63) IRELAND 1-13-8 (53)
Ireland suffered a disappointing defeat against a Nat Fyfe inspired Australia in Adelaide.
Australia produced a competent display and will bring a 10 point lead into next Saturday's Second Test in Perth.
Despite a remarkable performance from Conor McManus, who contributed seven overs and four behinds, Ireland only managed to rattle the Australian net once during the contest.
A string of good chances were spurned by Ireland, who did battle back impressively in the closing stages following a dominant third quarter from Australia.
The match started with plenty of encouraging moments for Ireland as Michael Murphy and McManus were prominent inside.
Murphy and McManus carried a potent threat as Ireland accumulated a narrow 14-15 advantage.
Both players combined to register four overs in that spell for Ireland, while at the opposite end Chad Wingard was causing the visitors' problems.
McManus did have one gilt edged goalscoring opportunity, but the ball just went out for a behind.
Australia survived that particular scare, but Donegal captain Murphy blasted a brilliant goal at the start of the second quarter. When McManus added a sweet over from an acute angle Ireland suddenly led by 24-14.
However, the rest of the second quarter was worrying for Ireland as Joe Kernan's team only added one more over courtesy of McManus.
Eleven Australian points on the spin, including two splendid overs from Nat Fyfe, ensured the home team were 28-27 ahead at the interval.
After the restart Australia seized the initiative with Ben Brown and Fyfe inflicting significant damage.
Fyfe pounced for an Australian goal, punishing a lapse in Irish concentration, while Eddie Betts and Paddy Ryder also contributed fine overs.
Though McManus and Conor Sweeney landed overs for Ireland they still trailed by 50-35 at the end of the third quarter.
Murphy, McManus, and Paul Geaney rifled overs, but Ireland were rocked when Luke Shuey palmed a goal for Australia.
That was a blow as Australia eventually edged 61-47 in front, but Ireland narrowed the deficit late on.
A demanding assignment awaits Ireland in the next instalment.
Scorers for Australia: Nat Fyfe 16 (1-3-1, Chad Wingard 8 (0-2-2), Luke Shuey (1-0-0), Ben Brown (0-2-0) and Dayne Zorko (0-2-0) 6 each, Eddie Betts 5 (0-1-2), Patrick Dangerfield, Kade Simpson, and Paddy Ryder (0-1-0) 3 each, Rory Sloane and Zach Merrett (0-0-2) 2 each, Michael Hibberd, Travis Boak, and Jack Gunston (0-0-1) 1 each.
*Scorers for Ireland: *Conor McManus 25 (0-7-4), Michael Murphy 20 (1-4-2), Conor Sweeney and Paul Geaney 3 each (0-1-0), Niall Sludden and Shane Walsh 1 each (0-0-1).
AUSTRALIA: Brendon Goddard, Zach Merrett (Essendon), Eddie Betts, Rory Laird, Rory Sloane (Adelaide), Dayne Zorko (Brisbane), Kade Simpson (Carlton), Nat Fyfe (Fremantle), Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood (Geelong), Shaun Burgoyne, Jack Gunston (Hawthorn), Michael Hibberd, Neville Jetta (Melbourne), Robbie Tarrant, Ben Brown (N. Melbourne), Travis Boak, Paddy Ryder, Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide), Luke Shuey (West Coast).
IRELAND: Niall Morgan (Tyrone), Chris Barrett (Mayo), Killian Clarke (Cavan), Eoin Cadogan (Cork), Peter Crowley (Kerry), Pearce Hanley (Mayo/Gold Coast), Brendan Harrison (Mayo), Kevin Feely (Kildare), Karl O'Connell (Monaghan), Paul Murphy (Kerry), Aidan O'Shea (Mayo), Zach Tuohy (Laois/Geelong) Gary Brennan (Clare), Niall Grimley (Armagh), Sean Powter (Cork), Niall Sludden (Tyrone), Conor Sweeney (Tipperary), Shane Walsh (Galway), Conor McManus (Monaghan), Michael Murphy (Donegal)