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Ireland win in first International Rules test

Ireland made a strong comeback to beat Australia 48-40 in the first of this year's International Rules tests.

At the interval Ireland led 21 - 14 with good performances from the likes of Laois' Colm Begley, Galway's Joe Bergin, Tadhg Kennelly and Steven McDonnell.

Matthew Lapin, Barry Hall and Ryan O'Keefe all helped Australia keep within touching distance and they took a 33-29 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The final quarter was end to end football, with Australia taking a 39 - 30 lead thanks to great scores from Staunton and a one pointer by O'Keefe which made sure Australia held onto their advantage.

But the Irish fought back bravely.

Three points from Sean Kavanagh and Steven McDonnell clawed the home side back to within three points of the Australians before Ryan O'Keefe put four points back between the sides with eight minutes remaining.

However, it was Ireland who finished the stronger.

The deficit was reduced to just a point before a three pointer from Stephen McDonald a minute before the end ensured a 42 -40 lead.

The final score of the game, a well executed effort from Joe Bergin the only Irish goal of the game and give his side an eight point winning margin,

"We probably had the game in the balance and there were one or two errors that were crucial to Ireland getting back into the game," Australian coach Kevin Sheedy said.

"But full credit to them, that's what makes the game pretty exciting."

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