Ireland (21) 52
TRY: Keith Earls, Luke Marshall, Tiernan O’Halloran (2), Penalty Try, Ultan Dillane, Kieran Marmion, James Tracy. CON: Paddy Jackson (6).
Canada (14) 21
TRY: DTH vd Merwe, Taylor Paris, Matt Evans. CON: Gordon McRorie (3).

A 31 point win was just about par for the course for Ireland’s second-string against a hard working Canadian side on Saturday evening. The eight tries came from Keith Earls, Luke Marshall, Tiernan O’Halloran (2), Ultan Dillane, Kieran Marmion, James Tracy and a Penalty Try. Paddy Jackson knocked over all six conversions while he was on the pitch. 

It was all to easy for Ireland as they stormed to a 14 – 0 lead with tries from Keith Earls and Luke Marshall. However the intensity of the game against New Zealand was neither there, nor required, and, as the team rested on their laurels, a loose pass from Marshall gave Canada their way back into the game with DTH vd Merwe gleefully sprinting home. 

The try was converted by Gordon McCorie and within five minutes he was lining up his second attempt to level the game after Taylor Paris crossed following a well worked maul. McCories second attempt levelled the score at 14 all and Ireland had a game on their hands. 

Ireland ramped up their game but it all looked a touch stilted until soft hands from Finlay Bealham sent Tiernan O’Halloran through on a delightful angle to race home from some distance. Jackson again converted to take the score to 21 – 14 at the break. 

I’m sure there were a few harsh words in the changing as Ireland came out with a bit more intent in the second half, particularly in the scrum, which earned Ireland a penalty try within five minutes of the restart to put Ireland two scores clear. 

However a fairly picky penalty for an alleged head roll by Billy Holland ended up with O’Halloran and Matt Evans rolling over the Ireland try line together with Evans just about managing to get the ball down after several views by the TMO. McRorie converted to take the score 20 29 – 21. Hmm! 

Unfortunately for the visitors though that was it for them as Ireland’s superior fitness bench and fitness came into play, the home side dominating the remainder of the game. 

The hard Working Ultan Dillane crossed just before the hour mark to restore Ireland’s two try lead and Marmion dotted down shortly after to secure the win. 

O’Halloran crossed for his second score with minutes to go but there was still time for James Tracy mark his debut, scoring with the last play of the game. 

Final score: Ireland 52 Canada 21

Ireland: Tiernan O’Halloran, Craig Gilroy, Garry Ringrose, Luke Marshall, Keith Earls, Paddy Jackson, Kieran Marmion, Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, Jack O’Donoghue. Replacements: James Tracy, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Donnacha Ryan, Dan Leavy, Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery, Niyi Adeolokun

It was always going to be hard to live up to the excitement of the win against New Zealand and this was really just marking time until the rematch. I’d say most boxes were ticked with regards to the eight new caps but it was most likely the Connacht players, O’Halloran, Bealham and Dillane that staked any claim for inclusion alongside either O’Mahoney or O’Brien, who will scrap it out for the space vacated by the injury to Jordi Murphy. I’d pay good money to see that one in the ring. 🙂 🙂 🙂