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BURKE'S LAW BOOSTS IRISH SPIRIT; Ireland 12 Australia 22.

If Money talks, the Irish were lending an attentive ear yesterday.

For while the rank underdogs had, eventually, to bow the knee to the unbeaten Australian tourists, they thoroughly earned their pounds 3,000 a man match appearance fee in this new era of professionalism.

It was not until 10 minutes from the end that Matthew Burke, from almost half way, kicked the penalty goal that gave Australia the winning lead.

And Knox's late try, converted by Burke, gave Australia a quite flattering margin of victory.

Earlier on Ireland had played their hearts out.

This was the Ireland which had shown more changes, nine, than a chameleon experiences in a lifetime, following the dreadful display against Western Samoa only 11 days previously.

But Irish coach Murray Kidd can feel chuffed this morning.

For this was the sort of show to give Ireland hopes of a decent run in the Five Nations Championship with Wood, on his debut as captain, an inspirational leader.

Apart from performing the basics splendidly, Wood was a lion in the loose and his perfect throw-in on Ireland's ball, allowed Fulsher and Davidson heaps of clean possession.

Paul Burke's fine place kicking, Crotty's excellent play on the wing and at full back after Staples' early departure, were other impressive angles.

Australia, remarkably, had not really threatened the Irish line until Knox's late strike, and had been in danger of a worst defeat by Ireland since 1979 until the final 10 minutes.

They owed much to Matthew Burke's high percentage of success from dead balls.

They had an outstanding flanker in Manu while Gregan was a fine scrum half. But centres such as that beautiful runner, Horan, got few chances to show their paces such was the fine work of the Irish forwards in particular.

For most of yesterday's match "Burke's Law" ruled the afternoon.

For Ireland's 12 points were all the result of penalty shots by Paul Burke while Matthew Burke kicked 17 of Australia's 22 points.

Matthew Burke, with a first minute penalty, had Australia ahead before Paul Burke put Ireland level from a similar award.

Then Matthew Burke struck again for 6-3 before Paul Burke levelled again after 24 minutes for 6-6 and then made it 9-6 eight minutes later.

Ireland's 9-6 half time lead became 9-9 only one minute into the second half with Matthew Burke on target again and then after 12 minutes Paul Burke struck from 15 yards for 12-9.

Matthew Burke had Australia level from in front of the posts before regaining the lead for Australia with that massive kick from half way for 15-12.

Knox's try, following a break by Gregan, converted by Matthew Burke for 22-12 was the icing on the cake but afterwards Ireland were complaining that seconds previously they were denied a blatant penalty.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Johnstone, Frank
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Nov 24, 1996
Words:467
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