Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Ireland crush Canada

Ireland, without a number of their key players, were too strong for Canada (AP)

Fergus McFadden scored a hat-trick for Ireland as they finished a difficult season on a high with a comprehensive 40-14 victory over Canada.

After winning by just three points against the US Eagles in Houston last weekend, this was a much improved performance from the tourists who scored six tries - with Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave and Tommy O'Connor also crossing - at the BMO Field in Toronto.

Canada's James Pritchard finished the first half as his country's top scorer as he passed Gareth Rees with three penalties, the first coming after six minutes when Tom Court did not release in the tackle.

But Ireland had started strongly and claimed an early score. Devin Toner took Richard Strauss' throw and Isaac Boss went off the top, finding Ian Madigan who delivered a clever kick which McFadden took on the full. Madigan fed James Downey whose pass was expertly picked up by Felix Jones who found Trimble and he marked his 50th cap with his 12th try.

Madigan converted from the touchline, but Canada hit back with Jebb Sinclair putting in a huge hit on Jones and the Irish line strayed offside and Pritchard made it 7-6, before the Australian-born winger broke the record and put his team in front after Peter O'Mahony had played the ball in an offside position.

But Madigan delivered a pinpoint cross kick for McFadden who fielded it, skipped past Taylor Paris and handed Connor Braid off to score. The out-half missed the difficult conversion, but it did not look like affecting him as he slipped McFadden through another gap before the winger fed Tommy O'Donnell who surged forward.

The Canadians went off their feet and Ireland opted for touch, repeating the decision twice before O'Donnell was held up over the line and then, from the scrum, Kevin McLaughlin lost possession and Ireland's lead was just three points at the interval.

The opening stages of the second half started loosely. Boss was penalised for not using the ball at the base of a ruck and, from the scrum, captain Aaron Carpenter caught McLaughlin napping and fed Mack. He was caught short, but the forwards took over and Tyler Ardron touched down. Pritchard missed the conversion but Canada led 14-12.

Ireland retook the lead as McLaughlin scythed through, offloading to Cave who crossed, with Madigan making no mistake. Their next try came when Dan Tuohy led with the elbow on Ciaran Hearn but got away with it, before finding Toner and he off-loaded to McFadden who scored his second, Madigan converting before being replaced by Paddy Jackson.

And O'Donnell crossed for his first Ireland try on his first start with just over 10 minutes to go, picking up Paul Marshall's ambitious pass and powering through, with Jackson converting. McFadden completed his hat-trick on the last play as the large Irish contingent in the record 20,396 crowd went home happy.

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