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Aussies sweep series

By Jennifer Witham 8:59 AM Sun 31 Oct, 2010

Australian captain Adam Goodes holds the Cormac McAnallen Trophy aloft

TODAY'S HEADLINES

AUSTRALIA has won the Cormac McAnallen Cup for the first time since 2006 after a clean sweep of the two-test International Rules Series in Ireland.

The Australians sealed the victory with a three-point win at Dublin's Croke Park on Saturday night, seven days after beating the Irish by seven points in the opening match at Limerick's Pairc Na nGael Stadium.

They won the series on an aggregate score of 102 to 92.

After the game, Collingwood premiership player Dane Swan was awarded the Jim Stynes Medal as Australia's best player across the two games. Swan had 23 touches in Dublin after leading the field with 33 in Limerick.

Former St Kilda and Brisbane Lions player Colm Begley was awarded the equivalent prize for being Ireland's best player.

After a week of critical analysis by the local media, the Irish team responded with a more attacking and courageous style of play and really took it up to Australia in the first half.

Despite drifting as far as 17 points adrift in the third quarter, the Irish side finished strongly after being buoyed by the game's only goal - to James Kavanagh - at the 13-minute mark.

The Irish hit the front in the final quarter eight minutes in before Swan and Brad Green combined to level the ledger and then reclaim the advantage with less than three minutes to go.

THE HERO
Dane Swan captured the attention of many with his natural ball-getting ability and supreme fitness and comprehensively won the Jim Stynes Medal. He was one of the most important players on the field in the last quarter as the Irish took the momentum of their late surge and threatened to steal the game, and possibly series.

TURNING POINT
The Irish were in trouble in the third quarter when they just couldn't get their noses in front despite consistent attacking forays. Enter Kavanagh. His thrilling goal, which was scored when Dustin Fletcher was caught out of position, got the crowd roaring and gave the Irish the impetus they needed for a final charge.

KEEPER v KEEPER
Fletcher
was caught out of the goals when Kavanagh charged in for the game's only six-pointer but overall showed much more composure than last week. 

Stephen Cluxton was again impressive with 15 touches and three marks, and he made sure Australia only attempted one goal through Patrick Dangerfield in the second half.

CRITICAL MATCH UP
With the exception of Liam Picken versus Marty Clarke part II, there were few clear match ups across the ground with players getting thrown everywhere. The defensive job on Kevin Reilly was labelled by Mick Malthouse as hugely important while the Irish did their best to put the shackles on Swan with Tommy Walsh attempting to hold him for the first half ... to no avail.

BY THE NUMBERS
16 - number of Irish players were on the field in the second quarter, which caught the attention of umpire Brett Rosebury who halted play and demanded a head count
1 - possession Jack Riewoldt had to half time, in what was a disappointing series for the Coleman Medallist
11 - the number of marks Dane Swan took on his way to his best player of the series award
9 - the number of Irish kids outside the Australian change rooms, pleading for national guernseys after the game
0 - the number of guernseys the Australian players actually parted with

FROM THE OUTER
All 61,842 fans could have been forgiven for diving for cover at the start and end of each quarter when the siren sounded. The hooter sounded more like an air raid warning and had the visiting media looking for the nearest exit the first time it was blasted across the PA.

WHAT THEY SAID
"A young player said to me [after the game] it was right up there and equal with a premiership, and I thought this time it's for your country and that means so much." - Australian coach Mick Malthouse.

"You have to be proud of the players and what they've produced. They exhausted themselves in the later stages of the game and we came up short. That's life, that's football. Australia played fantastic football tonight and we couldn't have done any more." - Ireland team manager Anthony Tohill.

Ireland    0.2.3 (9)    0.4.5 (17)    1.8.8 (38)    1.11.13 (52)       
Australia    0.4.4 (16)    0.7.7 (28)    0.12.12 (48)    0.14.13 (55)      
      

GOALS (6 points)
Ireland:
Kavanagh
Australia: Nil

OVERS (3 points)
Ireland:
Coulter 2, M. Murphy 2, Begley, McKernan, McDonnell, B. Murphy, Brogan, Kennelly, Cavanagh
Australia: Green 4, Swan 3, Goodes 2, Banfield 2, Montagna, McVeigh, Betts

BEST
Ireland:
Canty, Begley, McKernan, Coulter, Walsh, M. Murphy, Clarke  
Australia: Swan, Green, Banfield, Gibbs, Frawley, Fletcher, Goodes

INJURIES
Ireland:
Nil
Australia: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: David Coldrick, Brett Rosebury

Official crowd: 61,842 at Croke Park

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the clubs or the AFL.
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