Aidan O’Shea sets emphasis on Ireland scoring early
There’s a 10 point gap between the sides heading into International Rules second test
Aidan O’Shea of Ireland cools down with a wet towel at three quarter time during game one of the International Rules Series between Australia and Ireland at the Adelaide Oval last Saturday. Photo: Mark Brake/Getty Images
Ireland and Australia met formally for media duties one last time at the Domain Stadium in Subiaco. Saturday’s second test, the last match to be played at the venue before its demolition, is expected to attract more than 30,000 spectators. Australia lead by 10 and are hot favourites to regain the Cormac McAnallen Trophy for the first time in three years.
Travelling captain Aidan O’Shea referred to that one-off test when it was suggested that they wouldn’t want to start that badly again.
“Three years ago we were completely outplayed for the first two quarters and part of the third. If we do that tomorrow the cup will be staying here in Australia so we’ve got to start well and as Joe said, we can’t afford to give up easy opportunities.
“They got two goals last week and they really played well in front of goal. We have to make sure that we execute the game plan correctly but also reel that lead in as quickly as we can,” O’Shea said.
He added that the team was in good shape having shaken off the bug that dogged the panel in the lead-up to the match in Adelaide.
“We had players in bed probably about 90 minutes before the game last week. Thankfully, it’s just been the backroom team that has been sick this week! The playing group has been fine and we’ve drafted a few boys in as well so we’re happier and more content as a group.”
His Australia counterpart Shaun Burgoyne said that he was confident his team would improve after a full week training together.
“The more you’re kicking it in practice – handball, mark, watching it float – the more confident you get. The Irish guys probably took us by surprise a little by how far they could kick the ball and the range they could get. Our own players are highly skilled athletes themselves.”
Sending out a team for the last match at the venue is a bit of an irony for Australian coach Chris Scott, who was moved to complain to the AFL about the behaviour of the Perth crowds back in 2012.
“Good riddance to the place, I reckon,” he deadpanned when asked about it. “They’re going to kill me for that!
“There’s some great history here. It is a privilege to be part of the last ever game at Subi. Hopefully, the crowd is on our side and they get behind us.
“It would be nice to be on the other side of it. It’s funny – in Adelaide, I still got some advice walking back to the coaches’ box. So, I don’t think there will be complete love for Ross (Lyon), Brad (Scott) [his fellow coaches] and I.”