The Runner Sports

Connacht Players Lead Charge In Ireland Win

Saturday night’s game was a testament to the work Pat Lam has done as the Connacht contingent in the squad did their province proud by scoring half of Ireland’s eight tries.

Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, and Kieran Marmion all made their first starts for Ireland and were joined in the starting squad by fullback Tiernan O’Halloran, while Niyi Adeolokun made his first international appearance off the bench in the 67th minute.

O’Halloran scored two tries, the first from a scything break just before half time. A well-thrown offload from Bealham on the halfway line put the fullback in the clear to score in the corner. His second was a textbook score, a ball through the hands of the backline found its way to O’Halloran to touch down, again in the corner. The Galway man also very nearly prevented the Canadian’s third try, latching himself onto his opposite number, Matt Evans, on his way towards the line, unfortunately for O’Halloran, the ball managed to slip through to glance the turf for a split second but enough to give the Canadians a score.

Marmion and Man-of-the-Match Ultan Dillane also got on the scoresheet. Marmion’s was a brilliant display of patience. Allowing the scrum to do the hard work and drag the ball over the Canadian line, the scrum-half dove through the feet of the Canadian pack to get a hand on the ball and score.

Dillane’s try was a show of his power, as he brushed of DTH Van Der Merwe and Evan Olmstead to cross the line. The French-born second row has definitely put his hand up for an opportunity to start in Ireland’s second test against the All Blacks next weekend, making ten tackles (Ireland’s highest) and 36 metres. Joining Dillane in staking a claim were O’Halloran, Keith Earls, and Garry Ringrose.

Earls was another try scorer, a quick blindside break from the back of the scrum from Marmion put Earls over close to the line. The Munster winger got himself into a battle with his opposite player, Van Der Merwe. Both wingers were determined to outplay the other, resulting in big hits from one another throughout the match. While a Earls racked up several mistakes, the good outweighed the bad, making Ireland’s most metres at 89. A brilliant offload to Paddy Jackson set up Luke Marshall’s try in the 21st minute.

Marshall himself had a mixed game. Marshall would be considered one of the more experienced international players in comparison to some teammates, with nine caps to his name. This experience didn’t shine through in much of the game, however. While solid enough in defence, outside of his try, his attacking game left much to be desired. Several handling mistakes and a careless pass that handed Van Der Merwe Canada’s first try were enough for him to stand out as one of Ireland’s weaker players.

Ringrose also made the most of his first cap. Making 57 metres with ball in hand, behind only Earles and O’Halloran. The centre was very unlucky to have a try of his own disallowed, the referee deeming the preceding pass to be forward.

Joining Adeolokun and Ringrose to earn their first caps were Billy Holland, Jack O’Donohue, James Tracy, John Ryan, Dan Leavy, and Luke McGrath. James Tracy even managed to get over for a try in the final play of the game selling a dummy to Phil Mack to burrow over the line.

Despite the scoreline Canada, who are 18th in the World rankings, 13 below Ireland, definitely tested the inexperienced Irish squad throughout the game. Their second try showed the power of the Canadian pack, steamrolling the Irish maul for Tyler Paris to touch down from the back.

Ireland will replay the All Blacks in Dublin next Saturday while Canada will see Romania next Saturday.


Tries: Keith Earls, Luke Marshall, Tiernan O’Halloran (2), Penalty try, Ultan Dillane, Kieran Marmion, James Tracy

Conversions: Paddy Jackson (6/6), Joey Carbery (0/2)


Tries: DTH van der Merwe, Taylor Paris, Matt Evans

Conversions: Gordon McRorie (3/3)