The USA has defeated Ireland 38-20 to regain the DonnyBrook Cup and take a 5-3 lead in the overall series.
In front of a packed stadium at Widener University, the Tomahawks ran in eight tries to four as the visitors struggled to contain the powerful Americans.
The match started in shaky fashion with both teams failing to hold on to the ball with their first set of six.
Ireland had most of the possession in the first half and there were troubling signs for the Americans early, when Wolfhounds fullback Ashley Huck linked up with his winger Paddy James in his own half. The Irish flyer sliced through USA’s defense and with a number of teammates trailing in support the ball found its way to Sean Carmody, who crossed over for the team’s first try. The conversion was successful and the Irish led 6-0.
In the 22nd minute, the Tomahawks responded when Man of the Match Luke Hume took a quick tap from an Irish penalty and dived over. The conversion was successful and the scores were locked up at 6-6.
Ben Kelly made a successful return to the national side and a quick play the ball 10 minutes later resulted in a long range try under the posts for Hume. The conversion was successful and the Tomahawks were in front 12-6.
The Irish responded four minutes later when a left side play saw their winger Adam Hughes cross in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful and the Irish trailed 12-10.
Many thought the Tomahawks would cruise into halftime, but a left side attacking play saw Ben Kelly crash over out wide with only seconds remaining in the half. The conversion was unsuccessful and the halftime score was 16-10 in USA’s favor.
The Wolfhounds started the second half intent on matching the physicality of their opposition. An attempted shoulder charge on his opposite number saw Irish winger James leave the field.
In the 44th minute Matty Haddon crossed over out wide for the Wolfhounds, narrowing the deficit to two. The conversion was unsuccessful and the score remained 16-14.
The next passage of play saw Hume stamp his mark on the match. His fifth tackle/kick option resulted in a goal line drop out for the Irish and in the next set of six the five-eighth darted over from dummy half. Matt Walsh converted and the Tomahawks led 22-14.
In the 55th minute Walsh crashed over. The conversion was unsuccessful and the lead was extended to 12. The wolfhounds retaliated five minutes later when Andy Brace got on the outside of his man to score. The conversion was successful and the deficit was reduced to six.
The final 20 minutes saw Tomahawks center Akarika Dawn cross for two tries while having a hand in another in his first game for the USA.
In the end the Irish failed to hold on to the football eventually losing 38-20.
Speaking after the match, Irish head coach Gerard Corcoran was able to find some positives saying, “It’s a young side and we’re better for the experience.” He also had high praise for the Americans, “they played a great structure and stuck to their game plan.”
Tomahawks Captain Apple Pope was full of praise for his players. “We had a shaky first half but for the second half we stuck to the game plan and got the win.”
Pope also had a big wrap on powerful center Dawn and Man of the Match Hume, who had an outstanding day on the paddock. “We knew Akarika could run hard lines and Luke knew that too! He got him the ball and that was that!”
The Tomahawks will continue their preparation for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup with more international matches planned in the coming months.
Tries: Hume (3), Dawn (2), Kelly, Walsh, Tulio
Goals: Walsh 3
Tries: Carmody, Hughes, Haddon, Brace
Goals: Carmody 2
USA TOMAHAWKS LINEUP:
1 Kenny Britt, 2 Louis Tulio, 3 Keiki Misipeka, 4 Akarika Dawn, 5 Ian Elliott, 6 Luke Hume, 7 Damien O’Malveney, 8 Justin Ripley, 9 Apple Pope (Capt), 10 Andrew Kniesly, 11 Salesi Tongamoa, 12 Ben Kelly, 13 Matt Walsh
14 Sean Taylor, 15 Vai Notoa, 16 Kelly McGill, 17 John Dykeman
1 Ashley Huck, 2 Adam Hughes, 3 Andy Mc’Grory, 4 Joe Muchern, 5 Paddy James, 6 Sean Carmody, 7 Paddy Barcoe, 8 Benny Guilfoyle, 9 Joe Smith, 10 Mark O’Neill, 11 Alan Trenier, 12 Graham Taylor, 13 Tommy Ratahi
14 Paddy Boyle, 15 Matty Haddon, 16 Andy Brace, 17 Larry Pontyn, 18 Cathal O’Reilly