Irish Warriors into Semi Finals

August 21, 2011 at 11:50 am Leave a comment

Ireland 11.6 72 Denmark 1.3 9

Ireland qualified for the semi finals of the International Cup on Saturday with a comfortable win against a determined Denmark team.  This was a repeat of last year’s European championship final in Malmo but it was a more one sided affair than that game.

The game was a late afternoon start on Blacktown Oval number 2.  It was a sunny afternoon after a very wet and windy previous 24 hours.   There was one new starter for this game, Alan Coomey the ARFLI player of the decade had arrived from Western Australia and started at half forward flank.  UTS Bats player Alex Whooley came back in as ruckman after being rested for the midweek win over Sweden.  There were several other changes from the Sweden victory including the resting of Roch Hanmore and John Tierney.

Ireland opened strongly with the opening goal coming from Fergal McManus from the goal square after good work by Mike Carey.  Mayo man Carey then got on the score sheet with a fine effort from 40 metres.  At the quarter time hooter the score was 2.2 14 to 0.0 0.  One major injury in the first quarter was to Denmark’s Joachim Secher who had to go off with a dislocated shoulder. 

On the resumption of play Paul Sharry evaded the tackle to run on and goal from the left side of centre.  This was followed by goals from UTS Bats players Barry Holland and Ferghal Purcell.  Fine link up play by John Heslin and Alan Coomey led to a goal by Manly Wolves forward Niall McDonagh.  Although Denmark were tackling hard and putting in a great effort they were failing to get scoring opportunities and Ireland went in a half time 4.4 40 to 0.0 0 ahead.

On the start of the third quarter Denmark opened their account after they were awarded a 25 metre penalty that they scored a behind from.  However the green tide continued with goals from Leeside Lion Eoin O’Sulleabhain, John Heslin and Mike Carey who soccered the ball through off the ground.  Before the end of the third quarter Denmark notched another behind after being awarded a free.

Wee county man Darren Sheils then got his first goal of the game before Denmark got their only goal after some scrappy play inside Ireland’s 50. The Ireland fullback Phil Bredin was getting more running into his legs than previous games and made a fantastic full length hand block to repel a Danish attack midway through the final quarter.  Sheils got his second goal of the game and probably the best move of the game after a great passing move involving Westmeath senior player Paul Sharry.  The final hooter sounded soon after leaving Ireland convincing winners 11.6 72 1.3.9.

This result and other results over the weekend mean that Ireland finished in number one spot in Division 1 on scoring percentage.  The Warriors will now play unbeaten New Zealand Hawks in the semi-final in Royal Park Melbourne at 3pm local time on Wednesday.  New Zealand have already thrashed Great Britain in Round 2 of the competition but had a much closer game against Canada being headed at three quarters time before pulling away in the final quarter.  Ireland are well aware of the difficulty of the task that faces them against New Zealand after being well beaten by the Hawks at the same stage of the competition in 2008. 

The other semi-final will see reigning champions PNG play USA.   The US caused a minor surprise by overturning South Africa in ANZ stadium on the undercard to the AFL clash between the Sydney Swans and St Kilda on Sunday.  So Ireland have got to this stage with no great difficulty and no major injury concerns, however the toughest hurdles still lie ahead.

Ireland
Goal kickers: Sheils 2, McManus, Coomey, Sharry, Holland, Purcell, McDonagh, O’Suileabhain, Heslin, Carey
Best players: Purcell, Sharry, Carey, Finn, Coomey, Holland

Denmark 
Goal kickers:  Merhoj
Best players: Lauritzen, Djernes, Rose, Campion, Biron, Damborg Jensen

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