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Ireland win International Rules series

Ireland win International Rules series

Ireland made it two wins from two in Australia when they ran out 50 (1-13-5) to 29 (0-7-8) victors in Metricon Stadium in the Gold Coast to claim the Cormac McAnallen Cup.

A much improved Australia performance was expected and early on it looked as if this test would be far more competitive than the previous contest, which Ireland won by 44 points, as they eased into an early seven point advantage.

However, the Irish soon found their groove and by half-time had pulled eleven points clear. Leighton Glynn got the games only major midway through the second quarter when he expertly rounded the goalkeeper before rolling the ball into an empty net.

From there on in the margin between the sides only got bigger. Ireland were finding scores much easier to come by and Stephen McDonnell, Micheal Murphy and Tommy Walsh all chipped in with quality overs.

Australia lost their way in the second half managing just a single point in the third quarter and a further five in the fourth as Ireland ran out comfortable victors in the end.

In the opening quarter though it looked like Ireland weren't going to get it all their own way but quality finishing from travelling party saw them take a 34 to 23 lead at the half time interval.

In fairness to Australia they hit the ground running and burst into an early six point lead with Brad Green and Mitch Robinson doing the damage while Ireland could only manage behinds from Murphy and Down's Kevin McKernan.

Ireland settled after that however and Australia, after their bright start, failed to score again in the opening quarter. Kieran Donaghy kicked Ireland's first three pointer after a brilliant catch under pressure from a long diagonal pass from Murphy.

After that International Rules veteran Stephen McDonnell stepped up to the plate and curled over two deadballs - one from an extremely acute angle close to the corner to put Ireland up by four at the end of the first period.

That advantage would only get bigger after the restart as Ireland began to find their shooting form. Joe McMahon kicked an over in the first minute but Australia replied through the impressive Brad Green who got four unanswered points - an over and a behind.

Michael Murphy and McDonnell added a further six points and although Zac Smith, who showed well throughout, tapped over a three his good work was swiftly undone by Leighton Glynn who got the first goal of the test.

In the closing minutes of the half it was tit for tat and while Smith got another score the Kerry duo of Tadhg Kennelly and Tommy Walsh, both of whom have significant AFL experience, got the ball over the bar to ensure Ireland's lead at half-time.

Scores were much harder to come by in the second half and with Ireland so far ahead on aggregate it was probably something manager Anthony Tohill was content with as the Ireland rearguard shutout the Australian offence.

In the third quarter Australia could only muster a solitary point thanks to a Brad Green behind while Tommy Walsh had an over sandwiched in between two from Donaghy as Ireland extended the gap to 17.

The physical stakes were raised in the second half but neither team was willing to give an inch. Murphy and Kildare's Eamon Callaghan's got Ireland's last two scores while Ben McGlynn's over and two behinds was as good as it got for the Australian's who conceded the Cormac McAnallen Cup to Ireland for the first time since 2008.

Retired Sydney Swan Tadhg Kennelly was named Ireland's best player for the series, and Geelong's James Kelly won the Jim Stynes Medal for being Australia's most valuable.

Ireland: Stephen Cluxton (Dublin), Leighton Glynn (Wicklow), Brendan Murphy (Carlow), Colm Begley (Laois), Kevin Reilly (Meath), Neil McGee (Donegal), Michael Murphy (Donegal), Steven McDonnell (Armagh), Ciarán McKeever (Armagh), Kevin McKernan (Down), Joe McMahon (Tyrone), Darren Hughes (Monaghan), Finian Hanley (Galway), Eoin Cadogan (Cork), Aidan Walsh (Cork), Patrick Kelly (Cork), Eamon Callaghan (Kildare), Kieran Donaghy (Kerry), Tommy Walsh (Kerry/St Kilda), Zach Touhy (Laois/Carlton), Tadhg Kennelly (Kerry/Sydney Swans), Pearse Hanley (Mayo/Brisbane Lions), Emmet Bolton (Kildare).

Australia: Richard Douglas (Adelaide Crows), James Frawley (Melbourne), Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide), Brad Green (Melbourne), Shaun Grigg (Richmond), James Kelly (Geelong Cats), Jake King (Richmond), Ben McGlynn (Sydney Swans), Trent McKenzie (Gold Coast Suns), Stephen Milne (St Kilda), Angus Monfries (Essendon), Robin Nahas (Richmond), Mark Nicoski (West Coast), Mitch Robinson (Carlton), Liam Shiels (Hawthorn), Zac Smith (Gold Coast Suns), Matthew Suckling (Hawthorn), Andrew Swallow (North Melbourne), Jack Trengove (Melbourne), Bernie Vince (Adelaide Crows), Callan Ward (GWS Giants), David Wojcinski (Geelong Cats), Easton Wood (Western Bulldogs).

GOALS (6 points)Ireland: GlynnAustralia: None

OVERS (3 points)Ireland: McDonnell 3, T.Walsh 3, Donaghy 2, M.Murphy 2, Kennelly, Callaghan, McMahonAustralia: Smith 3, Green 2, McGlynn, Robinson