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Kelly confident over betting probe

Ireland head coach Andy Kelly is confident any investigation into irregularities surrounding his team's successful 2008 World Cup qualifying campaign will draw a blank.

Reports in Australia said Australian police probing suspicious betting activity on an NRL match in 2010 have extended their investigation to include Ireland's matches against Lebanon during 2006 and 2007 which both ended in draws.

The first match, at Dublin's Tolka Park in November 2006, ended in an 18-18 draw and the second, at Dewsbury 12 months later, finished level at 16-16 after referee Ashley Klein awarded Ireland a penalty for a high tackle three minutes from the end.

Chris Bridge kicked the equalising goal that resulted in the Irish topping the group and going through to the World Cup on points difference.

A Sydney newspaper have revealed that an international rugby league official contacted them about what he believed were irregularities in the two games and they say they have forwarded the information to police.

Canterbury Bulldogs' former Widnes and Hull KR prop forward Ryan Tandy, who has been charged with four counts of lying to a NSW Crime Commission hearing into betting allegations on the August 21 game between the Bulldogs and North Queensland, played for Ireland in the first game but did not appear in the return fixture.

Kelly said: "It's a speculative poke at statistics. Anyone who saw those games would have witnessed full-blooded physical encounters that went down to the wire and it's ludicrous to suggest there was any collusion from members of either team.

"It has to be looked at and investigated but I can't imagine that any of the players would have sacrificed anything in those games. The World Cup was too big a price."

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