By Micil Glennon
Ireland regained the Cormac McAnallen Cup with a comfortable 21-point win over Australia at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.
Anthony Tohill’s side outscored the home side in all four quarters and were never in danger of relinquishing their 44-point lead from the first Test.
Leighton Glynn scored the only goal of the game in the second quarter while Stephen McDonnell and Tommy Walsh chipped in with three overs apiece in a stop-start game that saw six players sin-binned.
Even before the first hooter sounded there were the inevitable handbags as the Aussies announced themselves, still wary of their timid physical effort last week.
And when the play started it was the home side who got into gear first, moving into an 8-1 lead by the 10th minute, courtesy of a free kick from Mitch Robinson and an over from captain Brad Green having marked in front of goal.
Tadhg Kennelly – starting at full forward – hadn’t been involved but dropped deep to get his hands on the ball and Ireland began to tick.
Kieran Donaghy fielded a high ball in front of the posts and got Ireland’s first over in the 12th minute. Straight after that McDonnell was fouled on the sideline and fired the resulting free over the bar and a minute later added another from a mark to leave the first-quarter score at 12-8.
Joe McMahon added another free at the start of the second quarter to extend the lead but Australia responded with four points from Green to put the home side within three again.
Midway through the quarter, Kennelly laid the ball off for Murphy who shot over before the all-time top scorer, McDonnell, added another free from the sideline after he had been caught high by Easton Wood.
With five minutes left in the half, Leighton Glynn was left alone to beat Matthew Suckling in the Aussie goal to score the only goal of the game and it looked like Australia might fade out of the contest altogether.
But, in fairness to Rodney Eade’s side, they rallied and began to pump high balls into their full-forward line and the 6’7” Zac Smith took two clean marks and added three-pointers with both, in addition to a free after Michael Murphy had been sent off for an off-the-ball incident.
Down the other end, Walsh had a goal chance but was content with the over and Kennelly claimed a mark in front the goal to get his first score of the game as the hooter sounded to give Ireland an 11-point lead at the break.
The tempo dropped significantly in the third quarter, with Donaghy and Tommy Walsh the only scorers in the first 10 minutes. The only other notable action points were the dismissals of Finian Hanley, Ciarán McKeever, Angus Monfries, Mark Nicoski and Robbie Gray who all received yellow cards for assorted handbags as the game became totally disjointed.
McDonnell had a goal disallowed and Green and Donaghy exchanged single-pointers to leave the score at 41-24 going into the last quarter.
Michael Murphy, Walsh and Eamonn Callaghan were all on target for the visitors in the final quarter while Ben McGlynn did manage an over for Australia.
A total margin of 65 points over the two Tests tells its own story as another unbalanced series ends in favour of the travelling team.
Ireland: Goals 1; Overs 13; Behinds 5
Australia: Goals 0; Overs 7; Behinds 8
1st quarter score: Aus 8-12 Irl
Half-time score: Aus 23-34 Irl
3rd quarter score: Aus 24-41 Irl
Full-time score: Aus 29-50 Irl
1st quarter: Aus 8-12 Irl
2nd quarter: Aus 15-22 Irl
3rd quarter: Aus 1-7 Irl
4th quarter: Aus 5-9 Irl
Top scorers: Irl - Steven McDonnell - 9 points (3 overs) Leighton Glynn - 9 points (1 goal, 1 over); Aus - Brad Green - 10 points (2 overs, four behinds)
Ireland: Stephen Cluxton (Dublin), Ciarán McKeever (Armagh), Kevin Reilly (Meath), Neil McGee (Donegal), Kevin McKernan (0-0-1) (Down), Pearse Hanley (Mayo/Brisbane Lions), Colm Begley (Laois), Zach Touhy (0-0-1) (Laois/Carlton), Kieran Donaghy (0-2-1) (Kerry), Leighton Glynn(1-0-1) (Wicklow), Tommy Walsh (0-3-0) (Kerry/St Kilda), Joe McMahon (0-1-0) (Tyrone), Michael Murphy (0-2-1) (Donegal), (Kerry), Tadhg Kennelly (0-1-0) (Kerry/Sydney Swans) Steven McDonnell (0-3-0) (Armagh).
Interchanges: Finian Hanley (Galway), Brendan Murphy (Carlow), Darren Hughes (Monaghan), Eoin Cadogan (Cork), Aidan Walsh (Cork), Patrick Kelly (Cork), Eamonn Callaghan (0-1-0)(Kildare), Emmet Bolton (Kildare).
Australia: Matthew Suckling (Hawthorn), Liam Shiels (Hawthorn), Andrew Swallow (0-0-1)(North Melbourne), Ben McGlynn (0-1-0) (Sydney Swans), Easton Wood (Western Bulldogs). Mitch Robinson (0-1-1) (Carlton), Angus Monfries (Essendon), James Kelly (Geelong Cats), James Frawley (Melbourne), Zac Smith (0-3-0) (Gold Coast Suns), Bernie Vince (Adelaide Crows), Joel Patfull (Brisbane Lions), Mark Nicoski (West Coast), David Wojcinski (Geelong Cats), Stephen Milne (0-0-1) (St Kilda), Richard Douglas (Adelaide Crows), Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide), Brad Green (0-2-4) (Melbourne), Shaun Grigg (Richmond), Trent McKenzie (Gold Coast Suns), Robin Nahas (Richmond), Jack Trengove (0-0-1)(Melbourne), Callan Ward (GWS Giants).