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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 24 January, 2019

'It might have been easy to throw in the towel' - Disappointed Murphy takes heart from fight

After captaining Ireland to International Rules success last year, Michael Murphy tasted defeat in Perth on Saturday.

Murphy could only manage one over (three points) against a tough Aussie defence.
Murphy could only manage one over (three points) against a tough Aussie defence.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

A SLOW START left Ireland facing a mountain that was too big to climb, captain Michael Murphy admitted after the International Rules defeat to Australia.

The hosts completely dominated the first half in Perth and led by 33 points early in the third quarter before a resurgent Ireland pegged them back to 56-46 at the finish.

Australia regained the Cormac McAnallen Cup for the first time since 2010, clinched their first home series since 2005 — and made amends for their record defeat in Ireland last year.

Murphy said: “We’re disappointed.

“The first two quarters in particular, Australia were very dominant and turned that dominance into scores with lots of quality overs.

They put a lot of pressure on us high up the pitch and through the midfield sector. They’re accomplished with the round ball and those first two quarters were too tough for us to overcome.

A goal from Darren Hughes and a spectacular Australian OG helped Ireland cut the deficit in the second half but they were never closer than 10 points.

Murphy said: “Once we started to get to grips with it and we started to play them at their own game a bit, we started to come back into it.

“We just came up short at the end but overall I think Australia were deserving of their win.

You have to be immensely proud of everyone and the way they hung in there. On another day with the scoreline the way it was over the first two quarters, it might have been easy to throw in the towel.

“In fairness to everybody they showed great character and that was an important thing to do. It was an important thing for us as a team.

“We could have snatched it in the end but it wasn’t to be. Australia deserved the win and we move on to next year.”

Ireland’s comeback falls short after giving Australia a 33-point start

Australia scored one of the great own goals in International Rules history

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Niall Kelly

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