A massive third quarter from Australia kept the series alive on Saturday, scores from Jake Neade and Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin preventing a run-away Ireland victory.
Michael Murphy opened the scoring for the home side, the Donegal and Ireland captain not letting thoughts of Glenswilly’s Donegal county final distract him as he put in a typically superlative performance.
He was best assisted on the night by Laois trio Ross Munnelly, Colm Begley and Zach Touhy. Munnelly top-scored for Ireland, while Begley’s influence and experience from the interchange was vital as Ireland took an early lead.
It was Touhy that really shone though, scoring Ireland’s first goal with a magnificent run through the centre of the Australia defence, less than 24-hours before he would appear for Portlaoise as they recorded their seventh Laois county championship in a row.
Despite some impressive Franklin scores and a third quarter that saw them outscore Ireland 18-11, the visitors couldn’t manage to close the gap, Kevin McLoughlin with Ireland’s second goal to really put the gloss on the performance.
The indigenous Australia side’s improvement as the game wore on showed they are capable of adapting to the new game however, and the series is far from over going into the second test next week.
Ireland: P O’Rourke; N McGee, F Hanley, C McKaigue; L Keegan, Z Tuohy (1-0-0), J McCaffrey (0-0-1); A Walsh, S Cavanagh (0-1-0); P Flynn (0-1-0), C Byrne (0-1-1), C Sheehan (0-1-1); P McBrearty, M Murphy (0-2-1), R Munnelly (0-2-3).
Interchange: C Boyle (0-1-0), P Conroy, C Kilkenny, K McLoughlin (1-0-0), C McManus (0-1-2), A O’Shea (0-1-0), C Begley (0-1-0), M Shields.
Australia: A McGrath; J Harbrow, C Yarran, T Armstrong; C Ellis-Yolmen, N Lovett-Murray, A Davey; L Franklin(0-1-3), D Wells (0-0-1); S Motlop (0-2-2), L Thomas, Leyroy Jetta; E Betts, M Stokes (0-1-0), J Hill.
Interchange: Lewis Jetta (0-2-0), Alywn Davey (0-1-0), Aaron Davey (0-0-1), M Stokes, D Barry (0-0-1), S Edwards, S Wellingham, J Neade (1-0-0).