...Ireland 'A' full-back Luke Fitzgerald slides over for a first half try...
A debut try from Luke Fitzgerald and 12 points from the boot of Jeremy Staunton were not enough for Ireland 'A' to see off an experienced Australia side at Thomond Park on Wednesday.
'A' INTERNATIONAL: Wednesday, November 15
IRELAND 'A' 17 AUSTRALIA 'A' 24, Thomond Park (Att: 6,500)
Scorers: Ireland 'A': Try: Luke Fitzgerald; Pens: Jeremy Staunton 4
Australia 'A': Try: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Morgan Turinui, Stephen Hoiles; Cons: Cameron Shepherd 3; Pen: Shepherd
Ireland 'A' were robbed of a prized win at Thomond Park as late tries fromMorgan Turinui and Stephen Hoiles helped the Wallabies erase memoriesof their recent Swansea slump to the Ospreys.
Two weeks ago John Muggleton's tourists were beaten 24-16 bythe Welsh region, but they rose to the occasion in rain-hit Limerick tobounce back from an 11-0 deficit and nick the result with a powerfultwo-try finish.
Ireland 'A' deserved better than a last minute defeat however. MichaelBradley's men looked like getting at least a deserved draw untilflanker Hoiles pounced on a loose ball, after Mark Gerrard's grubber kick had evaded John Kelly's grasp as it rolled over the line, andfull-back Cameron Shepherd converted.
But the occasion will have happy memories for Leinster's rising star,Luke Fitzgerald, who gave a superb display at full-back for Ireland'A'. The 19-year-old scored a debut try and also produced two superbcover tackles which prevented certain tries.
With Irish coach Eddie O'Sullivan holding a watching brief, Fitzgeraldcrowned a great display by bagging Ireland's only try, right on thehalf-hour mark.
Wasps out-half Jeremy Staunton booted the Irish in front with penaltiesfrom distance after 5 and 7 minutes. The second time his shot at goalwas brought closer following dissent by Stephen Moore, the Aussiehooker with Irish parents, after the initial award for offside came onhalfway.
Ireland's 11-3 interval lead was well deserved and it should have beenmore as two great try-scoring chances were lost. But the only try was asuperb bit of play from the hosts.
Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris, who was also making his 'A'international bow, made the initial break. He linked with Barry Murphy
Staunton's conversion attempt from near the touchline came back off an upright.
Some sleepy Irish defending allowed Australian winger AdamAshley-Cooper arrow through for a converted try, just seven minutesafter the interval.
In reply Staunton landed two more penalties, but they proved to beIreland's final scores. He clipped over a 54th-minute shot after Aussielock James Horwill was sin-binned for a high tackle.
His fourth successful kick of the night followed, yet the tourists tookfull advantage while Leinster flanker Keith Gleeson was in the sin-bin- for hands in the ruck close to the home line.
Persistent pressure was rewarded when Morgan Turinui sped in for a70th-minute try which Shepherd converted and he was also on target whenconverting Hoiles' scrambled effort, on 79 minutes, which denied theIrish a draw.
IRELAND 'A': LukeFitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster); John Kelly (CorkConstitution/Munster), Barry Murphy (UL Bohemians/Munster), KieranLewis (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Robert Kearney (UCD/Leinster);Jeremy Staunton (London Wasps), Eoin Reddan (London Wasps); RonanMcCormack (UCD/Leinster), John Fogarty (Buccaneers/Connacht), SimonBest (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) (capt), Matt McCullough(Ballymena/Ulster), Trevor Hogan (Shannon/Leinster), Stephen Ferris(Dungannon/Ulster), Keith Gleeson (St. Mary's College/Leinster), JamieHeaslip (Clontarf/Leinster).
Replacements: BrianBlaney (Terenure College/Leinster), Ray Hogan (Galwegians/Connacht),Mick O'Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster), Roger Wilson (BelfastHarlequins/Ulster), Cillian Willis (UCD/Leinster), Mark McHugh(Galwegians/Connacht), Gavin Duffy (NEC Harlequins).
AUSTRALIA 'A': CameronShepherd; Adam Ashley-Cooper, Morgan Turinui, Scott Staniforth, DrewMitchell; Mark Gerrard, Brett Sheehan; Benn Robinson, Stephen Moore,Rodney Blake, Al Campbell (capt), James Horwill, Scott Fava, StephenHoiles, David Lyons.
Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Nic Henderson, Mitchell Chapman, George Smith, Josh Valentine, Gene Fairbanks, Clyde Rathbone.
Referee: Rob Debney (England)
Touch Judges: Roy Maybank, Bob Mullis (both England)
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