Contributed by: Matthew Guthrie Thursday, August 18 2005 @ 06:13 am ACST
The United States Revolution went home brimming with confidence after completing the double against the 2002 International Cup champions Ireland and finishing third in the tournament.
After creating one of the shocks of the tournament only a week prior, the Revolution came out to prove the point that the 9 point win against Ireland in their second match of the pools was no fluke and the improvements they have made since 2002 have come full circle.
One could have been mistaken for thinking that the sting in this match may have been missing after both had disappointing losses in the semi-finals but someone forgot to tell the Revolution. Three goals in the space of 5 minutes sent clear messages of intent to the Irish that the USA were up for it and wanted to go home a winner.
A goal early in the second by Jones (17) asserted the USA’s dominance on the match and three more late in the quarter gave them a 40 point advantage going into the half. The Irish were not playing a pretty exhibition of football and needed to dig deep within themselves and their Irish Pride if they were going to come out of this match with any chance of winning.
Stirring scenes of passion and emotion within the Irish sheds at half time gave onlookers some insight and hope. Only the brave would discount a pride of Irishmen with their backs to the wall and the die hards could smell a revival in the air. Worry about this quarter then see what happens was their motto. As soon as the ball had bounced, Jeckle had turned into Hyde and Ireland kicked their first minutes into the quarter. A steadier from the US by number 14 (still haven't sorted out errors with the jumper numbers) helped keep the Revolution focussed with a barrage of attack coming their way. Goals to Troy (24) and O’Sullivan (23) helped the Irish reduce the margin to 29 points going into the last break.
Ireland had all the momentum running their way and when O’Hagan (30) kicked his second for the match early in the last the crowd was buzzing. Was this to be the greatest comeback of the tournament? The Revolution firmly said “No, not today” and with Jones (17) up forward providing a great target all day he added another two to his and the Revolution's tally putting the match well out of contention and securing a great win.
The USA ran out convincing winners in the end by 35 points and stamped their mark on this tournament as one of the most improved countries. US Footy is one of the Big Players on the international scene now and will look to build on their success in this event. Ireland although gallant in defeat will go home a little disappointed. They came within nine points of a finals berth when up against PNG but were too slow out of the gates today against the USA and the 40 point start they gave was always going to be a tough ask. To be fair the Irish struggled with the let-down of not making the Final to defend their title, and had several players pull out ill before their match, but the final score in the books shows the US comfortable winners and well deserving third spot in 2005.
USA 10.5 (65)
Ireland 4.6 (30)