Ireland boss hails triumphant team as Australia left reeling after heavy defeat
Earley unconvinced of need for rules change following Irish dominance of series
Ireland’s goalkeeper Paddy O’Rourke and Michael Murphy celebrate after victory in the second test. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Having emphatically retained the Cormac McAnallen trophy, Ireland manager Paul Earley was keen to pay tribute to his team, whose excellence he felt was getting lost in the diffidence of the opposition.
“It wasn’t too easy,” he said “We knew they were going to be more competitive at the start but we prepared well and we also knew that the second game was going to be our better game. We had worked a lot on some of the things that you saw there today . . . We focused on our own game and it worked. Our players are professional in everything they do except getting paid.”
Asked did the one-sidedness of the series not recommend rule changes, he was unconvinced.
“Sometimes there are reactions to big defeats. Ireland were well beaten in 2005 by a very strong and skilful Australian team. If Australia were to put their best team out . . . they would be very close games. I don’t think there’s any need to tamper the rules whatsoever.”
Rules favour skill
The only cloud on an otherwise untroubled night was the injury to Mayo’s Colm Boyle, who was “bumped” – frontally charged – by Lindsay Thomas and had to be taken off. But Earley said the player was okay.
His captain, Michael Murphy, said that the game as it stands advantages skilful players.
“It’s a highly skilled game. The ratio between skill and physicality used to lean towards physicality. Now it’s towards skill . . . we did that over the four quarters better than we did in Cavan.
“It’s great to test yourselves against professionals . . . There’s a great satisfaction in winning against them.”
Visiting coach Michael O’Loughlin was despondent at the landslide defeat.
“As a coach, I feel a bit ill, a bit sick. It has hurt me to the core. Some of our efforts were really flat. I was happy with the start compared to last time.
“We kept it really simple but I guess some guys aren’t able to follow instructions . . . We wanted to kick the ball all the time when the message was to use our hands and our leg speed.
“I didn’t want to say anything [afterwards to the players] that I would regret in five years time. This is as flat as I’ve ever been . . . it’s frustrating when guys refuse to follow instructions.
“The way the Irish guys attacked . . . put our boys under the pump.”
Both managers were hopeful the series would continue.
“We need to look at ways of making it work, including the Australians having their top players,” said Earley.
O’Loughlin agreed and said that while the all-indigenous team had been a great initiative, he expected Australia to have a full pick in any future series.