Ireland defeats GB Bulldogs in first test of 2009
Monday, April 13 2009 @ 10:15 am ACST
Contributed by: Aaron Richard
The Irish Warriors started their season on a winning note with a hard fought victory on April 4th over their cross channel rivals the Great Britain Bulldogs. In the fine settings of St David’s college Artane, Ireland got off to a slow start but finished well to run out 8.6 (54) - 4.9 (33) winners.
In a much changed side to the one that went to the International Cup in Melbourne last year, Ireland fielded three new caps in Donnacha Reilly, Gary Green and Danny Burke.
This report courtesy of the Australian Rules Football League of Ireland.
Ireland were first to score with captain for the day James Flavin scoring a goal. Despite the advantage of a stiff breeze the Irish only managed one more goal in the quarter from Mick Currane. This was down to a fighting display from the Bulldogs who scored two goals themselves to go finish quarter level at 14 points each.
Following a stern team talk from assistant coach Dennis Reidy the Warriors came out strong in the second quarter and started making their superior skills tell. Big Joe Cunnane took an excellent high mark and despite an acute angle, slotted it over. There was a further goal from Paul O’Mahony and since the Bulldogs only managed two behinds the Irish went into half time 12 points to the good.
The third quarter is known as the championship quarter as it is here where most matches are won or lost. This proved to be the case as Ireland powered through their opponents extending the gap to one the Bulldogs never recovered from. Liam O’Connor, the sole Leeside Lions on view, scored the first followed shortly by Pat Leavy as the GB team started to wilt. Despite a goal from The Bulldogs giant ruckman the Warriors finished the half well on top thanks to Mick Currane getting his second goal of the game.
Starting the final quarter 23 points ahead the Irish knew if they kept their discipline and shape they would see out the win. With Johnny Enright commanding at the back and Paddy Gibbs organising things in the midfield this was done with ease. Great Britain actually won the fourth quarter outscoring the Irish by 1.3 to 1.0. Ireland’s goal saw Liam O’Connor scoring again. A special mention should go to David Lally who played his last game for a while as he leaves shortly for Australia.
Overall it was good start to the season for the Warriors, this being their first match since the disappointment of finishing fourth in the International Cup. The Irish were missing several regulars and faced a good and well motivated British team yet ran out deserved winners. They can go into the forthcoming ANZAC cup in England with confidence.
Irish Warriors: 2.2, 4.4, 7.5, 8.6 (54)
GB Bulldogs: 2.2, 2.4, 3.6, 4.9 (33)
Ireland: Mick Currane (2), Liam O’Connor (2), Joe Cunnane, Paul O’Mahony, James Flavin, Pat Leavy.
Great Britain: Andy Whiteaker (2), Joe Cooper, Tom Judson.