McFadden scores three in Ireland win over Canada
Peter O’Mahony proves leadership credentials once again as young side ends tour on a high
Ireland’s Fergus McFadden scores one of his three tries against Canada. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Ireland 40 Canada 14: Six tries, six new caps, two victories. This North American tour will never be viewed as a futile exercise by Joe Schmidt, Les Kiss and their incoming – soon to be announced – forwards coach.
For certain, both men now have fascinating and valuable insight into the enormous value that Peter O’Mahony brings to the party, both as a leader and versatile backrower.
“Without a doubt we found out a little about ourselves as players,” said Kiss after what eventually became a six try parade. “From a coaching perspective it was encouraging on a lot of fronts. Sometimes the perception is you can come and get these tier two nations and run it away easily but they were both tough affairs.
“Tonight until the 54th minute it was 14-12 (to Canada). We had to find something, keep our composure and again some fantastic leadership from Peter pulled us through to a place where we could have the intent to attack. And that ended up getting the tries for us.”
Paul O’Connell or Jamie Heaslip may regain the Irish captaincy in November but Schmidt has another genuine option in the 23 year old. That, as much as anything else, should be seen as a this tour’s greatest gift. O’Mahony was immense yet again only denied the official man of the match award by hat-trick of tries from Fergus McFadden.
“Last week Fergus shipped an injury in the game and he toughed his way through it. He trained through a bit of injury this week and got a knock in the game again but just keeps powering on. I can’t speak highly about him and the way he played.”
Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave and Tommy O’Donnell grabbed the other tries while Ian Madigan and Paddy Jackson kicked the extras on a night that got very comfortable once the largely amateur Canadians faded around the hour mark. But before that, it was getting a little uncomfortable, certainly violent.
There is always a good chance of some niggle in the last game of a very long season. Canadians love any confrontational sport – we are in the middle of the Hockey play-offs and the city is enthralled even though the Maple Leafs are not involved – so toss an angry Corkonian into that equation and we had a feisty contest.
“I’d like to think that we’re smart enough now to get on with it and not get involved,” said O’Mahony earlier in the week when cheap shots was suggested as a possible Canadian tactic. “That’s not to say we’ll leave any player behind.”
Nor will he accept a sneaky stamp from a scrumhalf. Up leapt O’Mahony to deliver some choice words (“You know what you did!”) while scragging Phil Mack by the collar. Everyone piled in.
“It was two passionate rugby teams going at it,” said O’Mahony afterwards. “I don’t know what else you are going to expect when you come to an international game. There was niggle but you are going to get that in an international game. Two packs going at it tooth and nail up front at the breakdown. These things happen, you get on with it after the game. That’s the end of it.”