Ireland easily beat a new look Connacht

By
Updated: August 18, 2011

Ireland 38-3 Connacht RESULT
Attendance: 3,168
77min (Ire) Hurley Try
66min (Ire) Wallace Con
65min (Ire) Keatley Try
64min (Ire) Wallace Con
63min (Ire) McFadden Try
47min (Ire) Murphy Try
21min (Con) O’Connor Pen
17min (Ire) Wallace Con
16min (Ire) Cullen Try
15min (Ire) Wallace Con
14min (Ire) O’Driscoll Try

An Ireland select XV eased to victory over a new look Connacht side this evening at Donnybrook by 38-3 with a number of players laying their claims out for a place in the World Cup squad after a strong perfomance despite the scrum causing even more concern

Two converted tries from Mick O’Driscoll was among the highlights for the Ireland select XV at a wet Donnybrook. There was also good news in the full back debate as Geordon Murphy returned to the Ireland set up with a try in the second half.

Along with O’Driscoll and Murphy there were also tries on the night for Fergus McFadden, Ian Keatley and Denis Hurley. Niall O’Connor’s penalty was Connacht’s only score in a game that, despite the lob sided score line, will serve the province well.

McFadden will be pleased with his nights work. Along with his well taken try he constantly posed a threat to the Connacht defence and along with Geordon Murphy they will have given Ireland coach Declan Kidney something to think about.

Paddy Wallace also gave a bold show tonight as Ireland slowly found the rhythm, intensity and cohesion that has been missing so far in the warm up games.

While the score line may have suggested it was an all round good night for the Ireland setup that would be misleading. Not for the first time the scrum was a huge issue. In particular Tony Buckley. The Munster man will again come under scrunity as Ireland were found wanting in the scrum in the first half.

The scrum appeared to be sorted out when Marcus Horan was brought into play. Kidney will have learned one thing from tonight. The need to keep Mike Ross 100% fit going to the World Cup. If not Ireland could be in real trouble.

Overall Kidney and his team will be pleased with what they saw tonight. The competition for places is genuine and you couldn’t honestly rule anyone out at this stage. If the 15 players who take the field against France can carry on the good work from tonight then the Ireland machine may just be coming right at the right time.

Scoring sequence: 14 mins O’Driscoll try, Wallace con 7-0; 17 mins Cullen try, Wallace con 14-0; 47 mins G Murphy try 19-3; 63 mins McFadden try, Wallace con 26-3; 65 mins Keatley try, Wallace con 33-3, 77 mins Hurley try 38-3.

Ireland: G Murphy (Leicester); J Murphy (Munster), D Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), I Keatley (Munster), F McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster); P Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster), I Boss (Terenure College/Leinster); T Buckley (Sale), S Cronin (Leinster), J Hayes (Bruff/Munster), M O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster), L Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster), K McLaughlin (St.Mary’s College/Leinster), N Ronan (Shannon/Munster), D Leamy (Cork Constitution/Leinster)

Commentary:
80min Thats it all over, easy win for Ireland with Geordan Murphy and Conor Murray the stars of the night for Ireland.
78min Conor Murray has had a great match since he came on for Boss.
77min Hurley goes over after a great pass from Geordan Murphy, Wallace misses conversion.
75min Dave Moore replaces Paul O’Donohoe at scrum half for Connacht.
74min Varley comes on for Cronin.
73min Ireland turn over the scrum.
72min Connacht take a 5m scrum.
71min Connacht win a penalty for an of the ball incident.
70min Connacht only metres from the line, but its well defended by Ireland.
68min James Loxton replaces Mark McCrea for Connacht.
66min Ian Keatley goes over for Irelands fifth try after a great pass from McFadden. Wallace gets the conversion
64min Try for McFadden, it has to be said it was coming. Wallace converts
61min Cullen and Ronan off and Ryan and Henry on, Ireland well on top and it looks only a matter of time before the next try.
58min Ireland lose it forward, scrum Connacht.
57min Ireland take the line out and are only metres from the Connacht line.
55min Johnny O’Connor replaces Ray Ofisa.
54min Penalty Ireland. Paddy Wallace goes for touch instead of taking an easy three points.
53min Game a bit stop start with all the changes, the official attendance is announced as 3,168.
50min TJ Anderson comes on for Mick Kearney. Marcus Horan comes on for the Bull
48min Geordan Murphy goes over after a Darren Cave break away. Wallace misses conversion.
47min Conor Murray comes onto the Ireland team for Isaac Boss.
46min Geordan Murphy looked to be in for a try but its well defended.
43min Connacht on the attack after winning a penalty.
41min Second half underway, surprisingly no changes on either side.
HT
40min Paddy Wallacekicks his penalty from the half way line just wide.
38min Connacht on the attack after a good kick from O’Connor. But Ireland back to defend it.
35min Penalty for Connacht but Niall O’Connor misses it.
32min Great tackle by Fa’afili on Paddy Wallace, he is having a really good match.
30min Good attack by Ian Keatley against his old team mates.
28min Both teams struggling to take control.
24min Connacht on the attack again after a good kick by O’Connor.
22min Connacht win a penalty and Naill O’Connor scores it. Ireland defence caught offside
21min John Muldoon nearly gets over from a scrum, but Ireland hold tough.
19min Connacht unlucky to be 14 down.
17min Ian Keatley interception and Leo Cullen gets over for the try. Wallace converts.
14min Fergus McFadden makes a great break which leads to a try from Mick O’Driscoll, Paddy Wallace converts it.
11min Ireland win a penalty under post and Paddy Wallace runs it but he knocks on.
10min Game back underway, Connacht slightly on top but nothing in.
9min Game delayed due to an injury.
8min McFadden attacks down the wing, but Connacht turn it over.
5min Connacht win a penalty and kick to just over the half way line.
3min Ireland turn over the ball and attack on the half way line.
2min Connacht on the attack after a good kick from Naill O’Connor
0min Connacht are wearing thier new black strip with the Ireland select wearing green.
0min Match about to kick off.
0min Decent crowd coming in for a wet Thursday night.
0min Just over a half an hour to kick off with the Connacht side out warming up.

Teams
Ireland: 15 – Geordan Murphy (Leicester), 14 – Johne Murphy (Munster), 13 – Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), 12 – Ian Keatley (Munster) 11 – Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster), 10 – Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster), 9 – Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster) 1 – Tony Buckley (Sale), 2 – Sean Cronin (Leinster), 3 – John Hayes (Bruff/Munster), 4 – Mick O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster) 5 – Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster), 6 – Kevin McLaughlin (St.Mary’s College/Leinster), 7 –Niall Ronan (Shannon/Munster), 8 – Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Leinster)

Replacements:

16 – Damien Varley (Garryowen/Munster), 17 – Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster), 18 – Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), 20 – Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster), 21 – Denis Hurley (Cork Constitution/Munster), 22 – Ian Whitten (Ballymena/Ulster)

Connacht: 1 Dylan Rogers 2 Adrian Flavin 3 Rodney Ah You 4 Michael Swift 5 Mick Kearney 6 John Muldoon (C) 7 Ray Ofisa 8 George Naoupu 9 Paul O’Donohoe 10 Niall O’Connor 11 Brian Tuohy 12 Henry Fa’afili 13 Eoin Griffin 14 Mark McCrea 15 Tiernan O’Halloran

Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Denis Buckley. 18 Johnny O’Connor. 19 TJ Anderson, 20 Dave Moore, 21 Matthew Jarvi 22 James Loxton

Preview:
A largely second string Irish side will get their chance to stake another claim for a place on the plane to New Zealand when Ireland take on provincial side Connacht at Donnybrook.

After high profile games against Scotland and France, the Irish team will face familiar foes on Thursday evening at 6.30pm.

Only three players remain from narrow 19-12 loss to France with Paddy Wallace, Leo Cullen and Denis Leamy rested for the “2nd Leg” at the Aviva and getting another chance for some game time, while Donnacha Ryan, who was on the bench in Bordeaux, is once again consigned to bench duty.

In an attempt to determine the flexibility of his back line, Kidney has moved Wallace, who played 12 last two games, to stand off with former Connacht man Ian Keatley, a number ten by trade, shifting to the centre.

Wallace will be partnered by his club mate Isaac Boss with the emerging talent of Conor Murray likely to get a run out from the bench at some stage. Darren Cave, Johne Murphy and Geordan Murphy complete an interesting looking back line that mixes experience with potential.

Upfront, Leamy will have been disappointed to miss out against France and with Stephen Ferris returning to the fold albeit on the bench, the Tipperary man will be keen to make an impact.

Leamy will be partnered by Kevin McLaughlin and the returning Shane Jennings with Tony Buckley, Sean Cronin, John Hayes, Leo Cullen and Mick O’Driscoll complete the forwards.

The bench has a very Munster look to it with Damien Varley, Marcus Horan, Niall Ronan, Dennis Hurley and Murray along Ulster’s Ian Whitten all expecting to get some game time.

Murphy and Jennings in particular will be keen to make an impression after recovering from injury, Murphy especially will have one eye on Saturday’s game with the competition at full back increasing further following the elevation of Felix Jones to the full squad.

With Kearney and Jones set to battle it out for the number 15 jersey and Keith Earls and Luke Fitzgerald showing their flexibility by playing full back when called upon, the evergreen Murphy might be the odd man out when it comes to the final selections.

Connacht meanwhile make 3 changes from the starting XV that took on the Exeter Chiefs in Dubarry Park last weekend with Adrian Flavin starting at hooker, Mick Kearney replacing the injured Dave Nolan and John Muldoon returning to captain the side from blindside flanker.

The backline remains unchanged with Paul O’Donohoe and Niall O’Connor completing the halfbacks. Henry Fa’afili and Eoin Griffin renew their centre partnership with Brian Tuohy, Mark McCrea and Tiernan O’Halloran completing the backline

Ireland: 15 – Geordan Murphy (Leicester), 14 – Johne Murphy (Munster), 13 – Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), 12 – Ian Keatley (Munster) 11 – Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster), 10 – Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster), 9 – Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster) 1 – Tony Buckley (Sale), 2 – Sean Cronin (Leinster), 3 – John Hayes (Bruff/Munster), 4 – Mick O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster) 5 – Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster), 6 – Kevin McLaughlin (St.Mary’s College/Leinster), 7 – Shane Jennings (St.Mary’s College/Leinster), 8 – Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Leinster)

Replacements:

16 – Damien Varley (Garryowen/Munster), 17 – Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster), 18 – Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), 19 – Niall Ronan (Shannon/Munster), 20 – Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster), 21 – Denis Hurley (Cork Constitution/Munster), 22 – Ian Whitten (Ballymena/Ulster)

Connacht: 1 Dylan Rogers 2 Adrian Flavin 3 Rodney Ah You 4 Michael Swift 5 Mick Kearney 6 John Muldoon (C) 7 Ray Ofisa 8 George Naoupu 9 Paul O’Donohoe 10 Niall O’Connor 11 Brian Tuohy 12 Henry Fa’afili 13 Eoin Griffin 14 Mark McCrea 15 Tiernan O’Halloran

Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Denis Buckley. 18 Johnny O’Connor. 19 TJ Anderson, 20 Dave Moore, 21 Matthew Jarvi 22 James Loxton

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