International Rules: Ireland win First Test by 22 points

Ireland captain Michael Murphy is chased by Australia's Cameron Ellis-Yolmen

Ireland look to have an unassailable lead in the International Rules series after a 57-35 win in Saturday's first Test at Breffni Park.

The Irish led 17-4 after a scrappy opening quarter and the advantage was 28-9 at the halfway point.

Zach Tuohy's goal extended the lead to 38-14 but Jake Neade's six-pointer helped cut the margin to only nine.

However, Steven Motlop then missed a glorious goal chance for the Aussies as Kevin McLaughlin hit a late Irish goal.

Overall, the Breffni Park game will probably have done little to change the minds of those who believe that the plug should be pulled on the hybrid series.

Granted, over 17,000 turned up to watch the opening test at the Cavan venue, but there was little entertainment value over the opening two quarters as the Australian team, made up this year entirely of indigenous players, struggled to cope with the round ball.

In the past, the hybrid series has been dogged by violent scenes but there appeared little or no intensity in the opening 36 minutes of action with both teams struggling for fluency.

Michael Murphy, captaining the Irish even though he is required for duty in Sunday's Donegal county final, hit the game's two opening three-point 'overs' with Laois man Ross Munnelly also lively in the opening quarter.

The visitors only managed two scores in the opening quarter with captaining Daniel Wells registering a three-pointer.

Mayo's Aidan O'Shea, Louth man Ciaran Byrne and Tyrone star Sean Cavanagh notched second-quarter overs as the Irish lead was pushed out to 28-9.

A complete rout looked on the cards 12 minutes into the third period as Carlton Australian Rules player Tuohy ran through the opposition defence unchallenged to slot the game's first six-pointer to increase Ireland's lead to 38-14.

However, that prospect of a humiliation served to rally the Aussies as Eddie Betts dispossessed an Irish defender to set up Neade for a close-range finish under Meath goalkeeper Paddy O'Rourke.

Further Aussie three-pointers from Lewis Jetta and Alwyn Davey cut Ireland's lead to 39-27 by the end of the penultimate quarter and the margin was only eight after six minutes of the final period.

However, possibly the crucial moment of the night was Motlop's astonishing open-goal miss from two yards when a six-pointer would have cut the Irish lead to only six points.

After the escape, Ireland outscored the Aussies 17-4 in the final 12 minutes of action with Mayo man Kevin McLaughlin slotting Ireland's second six-pointer after the visitors had failed to deal with a wayward long free from Murphy.

Ireland squad: Michael Murphy (Donegal), cpt, Aidan Walsh (Cork), Aidan Walsh (Cork), Paddy O' Rourke (Meath), Colm Begley (Laois), Colm Boyle (Mayo), Ciaran Byrne (Louth), Sean Cavanagh (Tyrone), Paul Conroy (Galway), Paul Flynn (Dublin), Finian Hanley (Galway), Lee Keegan (Mayo), Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin), Paddy McBrearty (Donegal), Jack McCaffrey (Dublin), Neil McGee (Donegal), Chrissy McKaigue (Derry), Kevin McLoughlin (Mayo), Conor McManus (Monaghan), Ross Munnelly (Laois), Aidan O'Shea (Mayo), Ciarán Sheehan (Cork), Michael Shields (Cork), Zach Tuohy (Carlton and Laois).

Australia squad: Tony Armstrong (Sydney Swans), Dominic Barry (Melbourne), Eddie Betts (Adelaide), Alwyn Davey (Essendon), Aaron Davey (Melbourne), Shaun Edwards (GWS), Cameron Ellis-Yolmen (Adelaide), Lance Franklin (Sydney Swans), Jarrod Harbrow (Gold Coast), Joshua Hill (West Coast), Leroy Jetta (Essendon), Lewis Jetta (Sydney Swans), Nathan Lovett-Murray (Essendon), Ashley McGrath (Brisbane Lions), Steven Motlop (Geelong), Jake Neade (Port Adelaide), Mathew Stokes (Geelong), Lindsay Thomas (North Melbourne), Sharrod Wellingham (West Coast), Daniel Wells (North Melbourne) (c), Christopher Yarran (Carlton).

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