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Great Day Out for Aussie Rules

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Tullylish 8s 10s 12s and 14s travelled to croke park to see the final leg of the Aussie Rules Tour

The Indigenous All Stars promised to be “hard and tough” in the second International Rules Test but instead were embarrassed by Ireland for the second week running, going down 116-37 at Croke Park in Dublin.

The result means Australia lost the two-Test series 173-72 on aggregate which is a worse defeat than the 2011 lopsided affair Down Under which the Irish won 130-65 overall.

Australia lost the first Test at Cavan 57-35 which led coach Michael O’Loughlin to slam his players’ lack of effort and intensity and vow they would be “hard and tough at the footy and the man with the footy” in Dublin.

The All Stars got involved in some push and shove before the opening siren on Saturday night but that simply resulted in a free kick to Ireland. Another free within 30 seconds gifted the host’s the opening over.

The start could have been worse but for keeper Ashley McGrath making two solid goal saves. West Coast’s Sharrod Wellingham then booted an over for the All Stars to level at 3-3.

But that was as close as it would get. Ireland’s class kicked in and, as in the first Test, the All Stars struggled to control the round ball off the boot and turned it over far too easily.

Conor McManus scored the first goal of the match for Ireland before North Melbourne’s Lindsay Thomas cleaned up Colm Boyle with a heavy front on bump. The 27-year-old was stretchered off the ground as the 28,000-strong crowd jeered.

Jack McCaffrey soon snared another six-pointer and Ireland went into the first break leading 27-8 with the series pretty much in the bag.

It went from bad to worse in the second quarter leaving the all-indigenous team trailing 53-16 at half time. Australia had few entries into the forward line in the third quarter and went into the final 18 minutes 78-25 behind.

Adelaide’s new recruit Eddie Betts managed to secure the All Star’s first goal with a handball into the back of the net before Jake Neade drove home another six-pointer off the boot.

Ireland’s comprehensive win means since 1984 they’ve won nine series to Australia’s eight. They lead the Test tally in the hybrid game 20 to 16.

The future of the series remains in doubt with the AFL football operations manager, Mark Evans, on Friday refusing to guarantee Australia would host Ireland in 2014.

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