Ireland Select XV sweep Connacht aside
August 19, 2011
Geordan Murphy was amongst the tries as he continued his comeback from a long injury lay-off © Getty Images
Ireland continued their Rugby World Cup preparations with a Select XV claiming a comfortable 38-3 victory over Connacht at Donnybrook on Thursday night.
Tries from locks Mick O'Driscoll and Leo Cullen powered the World Cup hopefuls into a 14-3 half-time lead and they hammered home that advantage after the break with Geordan Murphy, Fergus McFadden, Ian Keatley and Denis Hurley all crossing. Paddy Wallace rounded out the scoring with four conversions.
McFadden made a midfield break which led to Ireland's opening try on the quarter hour. O'Driscoll was the man to finish the move off from close range, and Wallace, who was involved in the build-up, added the conversion. Ireland were soon celebrating again with a quick lineout from McFadden finding Cullen for a simple score.
The Connacht scrum, aided by powerful props Rodney Ah You and Dylan Rogers, kept the pressure on Ireland and captain John Muldoon was denied a try by Johne Murphy's last-gasp tackle. Niall O'Connor salvaged something from Connacht's bright spell with a well-struck penalty.
Ireland raised the tempo after the break but they were largely frustrated by the home side's defence until good feet and hands from Darren Cave set up a score for Murphy in the corner. The fourth Irish try arrived in the 64th minute when a long pass played McFadden in and Wallace's successful conversion stretched the lead to 26-3.
Connacht maintained their discipline in defence but some lapses were ruthlessly punished by the Ireland backs with Keatley the beneficiary after a smart break from McFadden. Wallace stretched his side's lead with his fourth conversion and following a flurry of changes, Hurley rounded out the scoring.
Ireland: 38 (14)
Connacht: 3 (3)
Ireland: G Murphy (Leicester); J Murphy (Munster), D Cave (Ulster), I Keatley (Munster), F McFadden (Leinster); P Wallace (Ulster), I Boss (Leinster); T Buckley (Sale), S Cronin (Leinster), J Hayes (Munster), M O'Driscoll (Munster), L Cullen (Leinster), K McLaughlin (Leinster), N Ronan (Munster), D Leamy (Leinster).
Replacements : Denis Hurley (Munster) for J Murphy (29 mins), Conor Murray (Munster) for Boss (48 mins), Marcus Horan (Munster) for Hayes (51 mins), D Ryan (Munster) for Cullen, C Henry (Belfast Harlequins) for Ronan (both 60 mins), D Varley (Munster) for Cronin, I Whitten (Ulster) for Keatley (both 72 mins).
Connacht: T O'Halloran; M McCrea, E Griffin, H Fa'afili, B Tuohy; N O'Connor, P O'Donohoe; D Rogers, A Flavin, R Ah You, M Swift, M Kearney, J Muldoon (capt), R Ofisa, G Naoupu.
Replacements : TJ Anderson for Carney (49 mins), M Jarvis for O'Halloran (55 mins), J O'Connor for Ofisa (56 mins), E Reynecke for Flavin, D Buckley for Rogers, O'Halloran for Tuohy (all 63 mins), J Loxton for McCrea (69 mins), E Reynecke for Flavin, D Buckley for Rogers, O'Halloran for Tuohy (all 63 mins), J Loxton for McCrea (69 mins), D Moore for O'Donohoe (74 mins).
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin