Georgia 5-40 Ireland 'A', Churchill Cup, Denver
Ireland 'A' book final date with Saxons
June 15, 2009
Prop Tony Buckley got amongst the tries for Ireland 'A' against the Georgians
© Getty Images
Ireland 'A' will face England Saxons in the final of the Churchill Cup next weekend after brushing aside the challenge of Georgia 40-5 in Denver.
Ireland had ensured top spot in their pool by half-time after tries from Johne Murphy, Fergus McFadden, Felix Jones and Tony Buckley gave them a bonus point. In stormy conditions, the second half was a largely uneventful affair after McFadden had grabbed his second try early on. A sixth score added late gloss before the match was halted a couple of minutes early because of the extreme weather.
Ireland went into the match on the back of a 30-19 win over Canada, while Georgia were looking for their first win after defeat by the North Americans in their tournament opener. Ireland were in the ascendancy from the off, with Niall O'Connor missing a close-range penalty in the fourth minute. He made amends two minutes later with an unmissable kick from in front of the posts.
O'Connor then doubled that lead in the ninth minute from much further out as the Georgians were made to pay for early indiscipline. Murphy made it 11-0 with the first try of the evening, breaking away down the wing after a mistake from Georgia full-back Teimuraz Sokhadze, although O'Connor could not convert.
Ireland's final spot was all but safe before the 20-minute mark when McFadden broke through the Georgian defence to score. O'Connor added the extras this time. The Eastern Europeans got on the board after 24 minutes when Zviad Maisuradze nipped out of the back of a powerful scrum to dive over.
That brought the score back to 18-5 but Ireland stretched away again from the next attack with Jones touching down despite the attention of two tacklers. O'Connor again was off target with the conversion and it looked as though Ireland's lead would only be 23-5 at half-time but Buckley powered over from close range after a strong maul for their fourth try, securing a bonus point and ensuring they could not be caught in the race for a final spot.
O'Connor's woes with the boot continued but 28-5 was a very comfortable cushion to take into the break. Neil Best thought he had grabbed Ireland's fifth try in the opening moments of the second half but his foot slipped into touch.
They did not have long to wait, however, McFadden finally breaking the Georgian resistance for his second score of the match and third of the tournament. The No.13 took over the kicking duties to convert comfortably and increase the lead to 35-5 but the Irish failed to push on from there as they struggled to find the finishing touch.
As the weather conditions worsened, Ireland did manage a sixth try in the closing moments before the referee brought an early end to proceedings.
Ireland 'A': Felix Jones (Old Belvedere/Leinster); Simon Keogh (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Fergus McFadden (UCD/Leinster), James Downey (Northampton Saints), Johne Murphy (Leicester); Niall O'Connor (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Frank Murphy (Buccaneers/Connacht); Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Denis Fogarty (Cork Constitution/Munster), Tony Buckley (Shannon/Munster), Trevor Hogan (Blackrock College/Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), Neil Best (Northampton Saints), Niall Ronan (Shannon/Munster), John Muldoon (Galwegians/Connacht) (capt).
Replacements: Sean Cronin (Buccaneers/Connacht), Bryan Young (Ballymena/Ulster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Chris Henry (Ballymena/Ulster), Isaac Boss (Ballymena/Ulster), Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Keith Matthews (Buccaneers/Connacht).
Georgia: Teimuraz Sokhadze (Unattached); George Elizbarashvili (Lokomotivi), Aleksander Todua (Lelo), Revaz Gigauri (Massy), Lekso Gugava (Lokomotivi Tbilisi); Merab Kvirikashvili (Massy), Giorgi Rokhvadze (AIA); David Dadunashvili (Perigaux), Jaba Bregvadze (Kochebi Tbilisi), Giorgi Jgenti (Oyonnax), Kakhaver Uchava (Costanca Farul), Giorgi Nemsadze (Domont), Grigol Labadze (Unattached) (capt), Simon Maisuradze (Clermont Auvergne), Zviad Maisuradze (Lokomotivi).
Replacements: Iuri Natriashvili (Farul Constanca), Zero Petriashvili (Lokomotivi), Vasil Kakovin (Universteti), Rati Urushadze (Enisei-STM), Lasha Malaguradze (Beziers), Davit Kacharava (Enisei-STM), David Losaberidze (AIA).