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dynamic duo end aussie hopes; EIRGRID INTERNATIONAL RULES O'Shea and Brogan key as Ireland regain title.

Byline: PAUL KEANE

ireland 56 australia 52 BY PAUL KEANE ALL-STAR Aidan O'Shea and captain Bernard Brogan combined in devastating fashion as Ireland regained the International Rules series title.

The pair were at war just weeks ago when Mayo and Dublin played out two hugely intense All-Ireland semi-final ties.

But along with leading points scorer Conor McManus, they did most to win back the Cormac McAnallen Cup.

Brogan helped himself to 13 points while two-goal hero O'Shea went a little better with 15 in front of 38,386 at Croke Park.

McManus hit 17 points overall though Brogan's solitary point for a behind at the death was arguably his most important score.

Australia had cut a 20-point deficit to just three at that stage but Brogan's behind was the insurance score, leaving four in it.

It's arguably Ireland's greatest win in the 31-year history of the competition considering Australia called their side a 'dream team'.

Alastair Clarkson's visitors came mighty close to reeling in Ireland too with a Jake Stringer goal five minutes from time leaving just six in it.

And the gap was down to three when Robbie Gray hit an over. But that was as good as it got for them.

Ireland lost by 10 points in Perth last year and trailed by a whopping 28 at half-time back then. This time around they led by 20 after two quarters, an unexpected but welcome 48-point swing.

All the nervousness of a year ago was gone as Ireland burst out of the traps early on and netted inside four minutes.

O'Shea was the scorer, punching the air in delight though it was a well worked team effort with Brogan knocking down McManus' clever centre.

There was a brief Aussie fight-back with back to back overs but Ireland took a deserved 21-13 first-quarter lead. The second quarter continued in similar fashion with O'Shea netting again. Brogan was typically involved as his shot was blocked down by Dustin Fletcher, allowing O'Shea to nip and convert the rebound.

Australia had a number of over efforts but their shooting was poor. They hit five behinds, essentially wides in Gaelic football, in the first two quarters compared to just one from Ireland.

And Kernan's boys took full advantage to lead 43-23 at the break. Brogan had already helped himself to 12 points at that stage and could scarcely believe the space he was left in at times.

O'Shea's tally was even more impressive at 15 points while Ireland's third goal arrived in the 30th minute from McManus.

Monaghan skipper McManus blasted home from the penalty spot after Paddy McBrearty was slammed into the post while attacking.

Australia are traditionally strongest in the third quarter of games.

They started it well with overs from Leigh Montagna and David Mundy.

AFL super star Riewoldt led the Aussie charge late in the third quarter, nailing seven points in total to leave Ireland just 50-39 ahead.

It was a healthy lead with less than 20 minutes remaining but not insurmountable.

And Australia came very close to suckering Ireland with that strong fourth quarter to leave just three in it.

They couldn't push on for the levelling over though and Brogan, fittingly, had the final say with his late behind.

CAPTION(S):

NO WAY THROUGH Ireland's Jack McCaffrey is crowded out by defenders

AIDAN FOR A VICTORY Aidan O'Shea gets on the scoresheet for Ireland as Australia leave Croker a beaten side
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Nov 22, 2015
Words:573
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