Singing Oisín's papal performance with esteemed choir

 Members of the St Mary's Cathedral Choir. Oisín O'Sullivan is second from right. Picture: Catholic Weekly

Members of the St Mary's Cathedral Choir. Oisín O'Sullivan is second from right. Picture: Catholic Weekly

IF there’s a sure-fire way to impress your Irish granny, it’s to sing for the Pope.

Oisín O’Sullivan’s Killarney grandma has been bursting with pride since he sang for Pope Francis with his fellow choristers from Australia’s oldest choir on Pentecost Sunday.

The 12-year-old has been a member of Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral Choir for four years and said the performance in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome was “the biggest thing we’ve ever done”.

“It was really exciting,” he said.

“I was trying to focus on the music, but in the background I was thinking about how cool it was.”

Oisín said the Pontiff, who was standing only 10m away, was humble.

“I thought he’d be sort of like royalty but he seemed really down to earth.”

The Papal Mass was the highlight of three-weeks of performances in France, Brussels and Italy to celebrate 200 years since the choir was founded by Dubliner Catherine Fitzpatrick.

In total, 32 young scholarship students from St Mary’s Cathedral College and 11 adult singers performed.

 Oisín and his dad, Pádraig O'Sullivan on the tour.

Oisín and his dad, Pádraig O'Sullivan on the tour.

The performance was broadcast to millions around the world.

Oisín’s father Pádraig O’Sullivan is from Killarney and has been in Sydney for 23 years.

He said both the Australian and Irish sides of the family were thrilled by the youngster’s accomplishments – especially his grandmother Breda O’Sullivan in Muckross.

Mr O’Sullivan said all the choirboys had worked extremely hard to earn the amazing trip. 

In an average week, the singers  rehearse and perform for 10-plus hours, before and after school and on Sundays.

Extra rehearsals will also take place in preparation for a special anniversary Mass in August that will be attended by descendents of the choir’s Irish founder. 

Mrs Fitzpatrick was a school teacher who voluntarily came to Australia after her husband Bernard was sentenced to transportation for embezzlement.

She trained a small group of singers, including her own sons, to sing for the first Catholic services in the colony.

As Sydney grew, they became the choir of the first St Mary’s church and eventually the St Mary’s Cathedral Choir. Mrs Fitzpatrick was the choir director for many years.

Melbourne resident Neill Fitzpatrick discovered he was the great-great-great grandson of Catherine Fitzpatrick when he was researching his family tree last year and was impressed by his talented ancestor.

“She was a woman well in advance of her time because she was highly educated and a school teacher,” he said.

“She was either very naïve or very courageous to come out in 1811 as a free settler with two young sons, the youngest of which was less than one year old.

”From what I’ve read of her sons’ letters they were very, very proud of her. She was the anchor that kept the family together.”

Mr Fitzpatrick joked that singing is one family talent hasn’t been passed down the generations.

“I can’t sing at all,” he said with a laugh.

Zach Tuohy kicks dramatic Geelong winner after the siren

 Zach Tuohy is the toast of Geelong after scoring the winning goal for the Cats against Melbourne.

Zach Tuohy is the toast of Geelong after scoring the winning goal for the Cats against Melbourne.

Laois native Zach Tuohy had the biggest moment of his AFL career to date on Saturday, kicking the winning goal for Geelong after the final siren.

The 28-year-old marked the ball 30m from goal with five seconds left on the clock and held his nerve to give the Cats a two-point win over the Melbourne Demons at Kardinia Park in Geelong.

Tuohy, who was swung forward in a move made by defensive coach Matthew Scarlett to start the final term, took a contested mark against a lunging Neville Jetta.

Tuohy was mobbed by his Geelong teammates who ran in to celebrate with the defender-cum-forward.

"It's kind of a dream after the siren to win the game – it was a pretty special moment and I'm obviously pretty happy that it went through, but even if it didn't I would've been proud of the fact that I put myself in that position to get the win," he told reporters after the game.

Cats coach Chris Scott said it was Scarlett who deserved credit for moving Tuohy forward in the first place.

"Reg (Tuohy) did all the things in our front half that 'Scarlo' predicted he would," Scott said.

"He's a really good contested player and he's pretty cool under pressure too. There weren't many other players that we would have preferred with the ball in their hands at that stage."

Tuohy said he's not likely to make a habit of playing forward.

"It was news to me when it happened. It wasn't pre-planned. I've never played forward (in my career), not even for a minute," Tuohy said.

The former Laois Gaelic footballer has become one of the most successful Irish AFL players since starting his career at Carlton in 2010.

He has now played 161 AFL games (closing in on Tadhg Kennelly's 197) and has scored 51 goals. None have been quite as dramatic as his winner against the hapless Demons who were 31 points ahead early in the final quarter.

Pension shake-up may hit returning emigrants hardest

 Ireland's Ambassador to Australia Breandán Ó'Caollaí

Ireland's Ambassador to Australia Breandán Ó'Caollaí

IRELAND’S Ambassador to Australia has played down concerns that returning emigrants could be worse off by proposed Irish pension reforms, saying most people’s entitlements would be largely the same.

Breandán Ó Caollaí said the proposed overhaul of how a person’s State pension is calculated (see below) would be “a fairer approach for all.”

One of the more controversial proposals is that a person may need to make 40 years of social security contributions to claim the full State pension. This is in contrast to the current system where someone could qualify for a full pension based on just 10 years’ payments, provided they had no gaps in their employment record.

Mr Ó Caollaí said this scenario was “quite rare” and “an anomaly”. 

The example given in the Government’s consultation paper is of someone who worked in the UK between the ages of 17 and 52 and worked up to a full UK pension, then moved to Ireland and worked for 13 years before retirement. Under the current system, they would also get a 100 per cent Irish pension on top of their British one.

It is in contrast to other scenarios in the consultation paper of people who worked for much longer but got a smaller pension. 

One is a woman who worked from the ages of 17-20 and then cared for children for 20 years. She went back to work for another 22 years but would only receive an 85 per cent pension under the averaging system.

Under the new way of calculating pensions, the person in the first scenario would only get a 33 per cent pension while the second person would get 100 per cent. 

While these scenarios had very different outcomes under the old and new systems, Mr Ó Caollaí said that people with "normal emigration patterns" would have mostly similar entitlements.

“Most people can claim pensions from both jurisdictions they worked under, and receive two pensions,” he said. “While both pensions might be at a reduced rate, their combined payment will quite possibly be greater than a single pension.” 

 Emigrants returning to live in Ireland may be disadvantaged by new rules for state pensions.

Emigrants returning to live in Ireland may be disadvantaged by new rules for state pensions.

People who worked in Australia also have the option of claiming a pro-rata pension under the Irish Australian Social Security Agreement if this is more beneficial to them.

Under the agreement, periods of working life in Australia are treated by Ireland as periods of insurance, and vice versa. These periods are added together to meet the minimum periods required for the pensions offered by each country.

Ashley Johnston of the Irish Welfare Centre in Sydney said they could direct people of pension age to the appropriate social welfare service “to receive sound and comprehensive
advice regarding their entitlements and pension queries.”

The proposals are explained in a consultation paper, on which interested Irish citizens can give feedback on until September 3, 2018. To make a submission go to and clicking ‘consultations’. 

How are Irish State pensions currently calculated?

State pensions are currently calculated using the yearly average approach. Your total number of social security contributions is divided by the number of years between first starting work and the last full year before retirement. A yearly average of 48 is required for a full pension. This method penalises those with big gaps in their employment record, eg for child-rearing. Under the proposed reform, pensions would be calculated using the Total Contributions Approach (TCA). Pensions would be based on the total number of Social Security Contributions a person made. Controversially, as many as 40 years of contributions could be needed to get a full State pension, although the Government stresses the number of years has not been decided yet. People who left the workforce to care for children will receive credited contributions that will count towards their pension entitlement.

Is applying for a pro-rata pension under the Social Security Agreement between Ireland and Australia a separate application process? Do you choose one or the other?

No, you apply for the State pension in the ordinary way. The application form requests (among other things) details of any employment abroad. When assessing your claim, the official will first see if you can qualify for a full rate pension in the normal way. If you do, there is no need to check overseas contribution records etc. If you do not, he or she will then go through a number of checks to see what method of qualification will give you the highest possible payment. If you have indicated you have a foreign employment record, this will be one of the options considered.

Answers supplied by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Ireland launch bid for UN Security Council seat

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney in New York for the launch of Ireland's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney in New York for the launch of Ireland's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.

The Taoiseach has said that the country will bring its "practical lessons" in helping end the conflict in Northern Ireland to the United Nations Security Council.

As Ireland officially launched its campaign for a seat at the top UN table, Leo Varadkar said its success in bringing peace to Northern Ireland following its long history of division has given Ireland a "perspective on conflict resolution and reconciliation".

U2 front man Bono and former Irish president Mary Robinson are also backing the bid.

On Sunday night, UN ambassadors were invited to a U2 concert at Madison Square Garden as part of the Irish push to win the seat.

Mr Varadkar and Irish Foreign Affairs minister Simon Coveney officially launched Ireland's campaign on Monday night at UN headquarters with a special event celebrating Irish food, music heritage and culture.

More than 400 UN diplomats and other guests were invited to attend the reception on the UN's North Lawn.

Mr Varadkar said: "Our perspective on conflict resolution and reconciliation is informed by the long history of conflict and division on our island, and our success in bringing it to an end.

"We learned that it takes two to fight, but many to make a lasting peace.

"This year is the 20th anniversary of the Northern Ireland peace agreement.

"While the path to full reconciliation remains incomplete, the Good Friday Agreement has stood the test of time, creating new relationships, overcoming centuries-old divisions, and giving hope for the future.

"We understand the need to listen, and the importance of respecting differences.

"On the UN Security Council, we would bring our hard-won insights and practical lessons to the table.

"As a nation that has experienced colonisation, conflict, famine and mass migration, Ireland's lived history resonates with the aims and objectives of the UN Charter.

"Ireland has a longstanding commitment to working for the eradication of poverty and hunger in the world."

The reception took place beside the Arrival sculpture, by Irish artist John Behan, which was gifted to the UN by Ireland in 2000.

Mr Varadkar also said that the Irish Government launched a strategy to double the scope and impact of Ireland's global footprint by 2025 as well as opening 13 new embassies and consulates in the past year.

He also said: "We are deeply aware that, in an interdependent world, the challenges of our time do not respect geographic boundaries.

"Finding solutions is a shared responsibility.

"This sense of shared responsibility guides Ireland's view of the world and the part we play in it."

Ireland will be competing for one of two seats available for the 2021-22 term with Canada and Norway. The Taoiseach said he does not underestimate the competition for the seat, but believes Ireland can win it.

As Luke would have it, Kelly legend lives on

 Chris Kavanagh pays homage to Luke Kelly.

Chris Kavanagh pays homage to Luke Kelly.

The definitive Luke Kelly tribute act is on its way to Australia. 

Created and performed by Dubliner Chris Kavanagh, the show celebrates the talent and legacy of the iconic flame-haired singer and musician. 

When Kavanagh started his tribute show in 2001, he could not have expected it would lead to him playing iconic venues like Vicar Street and the Olympia or touring with John Sheahan and the Dubliners and playing gigs as far away as Australia. But his show is also endorsed by Kelly’s family. 

“It’s one surprise after another,” Chris told The Irish Echo. “I felt like I won the musical lottery when John [Sheahan] asked me to go on tour with the Dubliners. We played for two weeks in Germany. Luke, in Germany, is a major icon, the German people absolutely adore him. 

“He’s an icon. America has their Elvis, Ireland has Luke. 

“The songs he chose, too. Some of them are very touching and deep and it takes a certain type of singer to put those songs across and Luke had that in spades. He had a way of connecting people through songs.”

Having the support of Kelly’s family is important to Kavanagh.

“Luke’s family still come and see us all the time and Luke’s two brothers come up and sing with us. 

“They’re a lovely family and the talent is in the blood because they all sing. They love what we’re doing and they’re lovely people. I found out going away with the Dubliners, people have this idea that they’re wild men and I’m sure they were at one stage but they were pure gents when I was away with them, there was no mad behaviour.”

Kelly died in 1984 at the age of 43. Known for his distinctive singing style and sometimes political messages, he continues to inspire generations of Irish singers. 

“Growing up every Sunday, my grandmother had the Dubliners on the record player when the dinner was on and it’s amazing how that music gets into your blood and stays there. I played all different kinds of music through the years but I think you go back to what you know best, I was singing those kind of songs when I was about three. I have returned home with the kind of music that I chose to sing and record,” Kavanagh said. Bringing Kelly’s music to a crowd far away from their home in Ireland provokes an overwhelming response, according to Kavanagh.

“I suppose it’s like a visit home for the Irish in Australia. 

“I remember the last time we were there, we were playing in the Enmore Theatre and it sold out but even the young people up the front, certain songs were stirring emotions; they were crying their eyes out. 

“I suppose when we play here at home, we take a lot for granted. It’s only when you go abroad and play that you see a completely different reaction, people really get into it and I suppose it is because they are away from home.

“It’s a great night out, especially that kind of music. Luke Kelly and the Dubliners, I suppose it’s music that even young people were brought up listening to when their parents were playing the tapes or CDs or records in the early days.” 

 Luke Kelly died in 1984 at the age of 43. 

Luke Kelly died in 1984 at the age of 43. 

Besides the endorsement of Sheahan, the only remaining member of the definitive five member line-up of the Dubliners, and the support of the Kelly family, Chris has received many
accolades for keeping Kelly’s music alive. 

Broadcaster Eamon Dunphy said the show was “a beautiful blast from our beautiful past”. Kavanagh added: “I got one [a song] there recently off Shane Healy [songwriter of Johnny
Logan’s Eurovision winner What’s Another Year]. 

“We had him [Healy] do a spot at a gig and he grabbed the microphone … and he says: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, this is the best ballad singer in the country’. That was huge praise for me coming from him.”

Kavanagh said he does not try to impersonate Luke but his voice does have a similar ragged style. Many have also commented on the resemblance. 

He will be joined by his wife Hilary on bass and vocals and Joe Finn on uileann pipes.

“People shout out what they’re looking for and I love when they do because we don’t really use a set list as such, we just play the songs that we think should be next. A lot of people ask for Grace by Jim McCann or Seven Drunken Nights sung by Ronnie Drew. We’re always able to throw them in there if they’re called for.

“It does (make it a great night), especially if you haven’t played a song before. I love the challlenge, we’ve gotten away with murder up until now. Always up for a challenge. The audience love a bit of banter and craic and it brings them in.”

The Legend of Luke Kelly show kicks off a national tour at Anita’s Theatre in Thirroul on July 12. For complete dates and ticketing details, visit

Schmidt hails 'fantastic series' as big as Grand Slam

 Irish fans celebrate at the Sydney Football Stadium. Picture: Rick Rycroft

Irish fans celebrate at the Sydney Football Stadium. Picture: Rick Rycroft

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said his team's series win in Australia was on a par with their Grand Slam success.

The Six Nations champions bounced back from an opening loss in Brisbane to level up in Melbourne and clinched the series with a 20-16 victory over the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday in front of a record crowd which included thousands of Irish fans.

Ireland won 10 of their 11 games in the 2017/18 campaign, but they saved one of their gutsiest displays for last as Michael Cheika's men threw the kitchen sink at the tourists but came up just short.

A decision by television match official Ben Skeen late in the game went Ireland's way as he decided Jacob Stockdale had not knocked on Bernard Foley's pass, and the visiting players were able to celebrate the team's first series win over one of the southern hemisphere's big three since 1979.

Schmidt was delighted with the way his team got over the line.

"It's up there," he said of the win, in comparison to Ireland's other achievements this term.

 Tadhg Furlong on one of his rampaging runs against the Wallabies. Picture: Rick Rycroft

Tadhg Furlong on one of his rampaging runs against the Wallabies. Picture: Rick Rycroft

"I think they are a super team. To be in their back yard and manage to sneak off with the Lansdowne Trophy is a little bit special for us, especially on the back of a pretty long season.

"It is a credit to players, they dug in just well enough. I'm pretty pleased there is not a game next week - that might have been a bridge too far.

"But the Wallabies are going in the other direction, they have got fuel in the tank and I think they are building.

"I'm sure 'Cheiks' is pretty happy with some of what they're doing, particularly in that second half."

Having talked to heroes of the 1979 side, Schmidt was fully aware of the historical context of his team's victory.

"It's big for us because we don't do that very often and it was 39 years ago. I did have a good chat to a couple of the guys who did it last time. Ollie Campbell is a guy I've got huge respect for," he said of the former Ireland fly-half who starred on that tour.

"We had a bit of a chat about it. He's such an enthusiast and his confidence was brimming that we could do it.

"I didn't quite share the confidence at the time because I knew how tough it was going to be and that was evident in those final minutes, not just tonight but last weekend as well.

"They were coming in waves and we managed to keep them out as well. I feel that potentially we were a little bit fortuitous and the margins are so fine. I didn't think we were far off in Brisbane either. It's been a fantastic series."

 Jack Conan made the most of his opportunity after coming in for the injured Dan Leavy.

Jack Conan made the most of his opportunity after coming in for the injured Dan Leavy.

Ireland achieved their victory despite losing four players to injury after the second Test and hooker Sean Cronin on the eve of the deciding game.

And when the team bus was delayed by more than 20 minutes as a result of a changed route, it brought back memories of Ireland's defeat in Murrayfield last season when they were held up in traffic and started slowly.

He was happy with how they responded to adversity this time around.

"It's good for the team, I think there are always things that are going to come at you from different sides," Schmidt said.

"Sometimes that sort of thing happens, you have got to be able to take it in your stride.

"Most teams have a real rhythm in how they build to a game, when that gets disrupted it can be a little bit of a distraction.

"But it's the first time in the series that we've scored the first points. So, we got off to not too bad a start."

Injuries force Irish changes for Wallabies decider

 Jacob Stockdale returns on the wing for Ireland.

Jacob Stockdale returns on the wing for Ireland.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has made a number of changes for Saturday's decider against Australia.

A number of injuries have forced some changes ahead of the third and final summer Test at the ANZ Stadium as the Irish look to seal a series win on the back of last weekend's 26-21 victory in Melbourne.

Garry Ringrose, Dan Leavy (sternum), Andrew Conway (hip) and Iain Henderson were all ruled out of contention due to injury as Ireland seek a first series win in the Southern Hemisphere since 1979.

Prop Cian Healy, who left the pitch with a shoulder injury early in the second-half at AAMI Park, has been named on the replacements bench.

In the front row, Jack McGrath - on his 50th cap - and Sean Cronin will partner Leinster team-mate Tadhg Furlong.

Jack Conan is set to make his first start of the series at number eight as Schmidt has gone for a new back-row configuration, moving captain Peter O'Mahony from blindside flanker to openside as he too collects his 50th cap, while CJ Stander makes the switch from number eight to blindside.

The half-back pairing of Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton are joined in midfield by Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw, while Jacob Stockdale comes back into the back three alongside Keith Earls and Rob Kearney.

Leinster's uncapped Ross Byrne is named in the replacements as is Tadhg Beirne of Scarlets, who made his debut last week with John Ryan, Niall Scannell, Jordi Murphy, Kieran Marmion and Jordan Larmour completing the bench.

Ireland team: R Kearney (Leinster), K Earls (Munster), R Henshaw (Leinster), B Aki (Connacht), J Stockdale (Ulster), J Sexton (Leinster), C Murray (Munster), J McGrath (Leinster), S Cronin (Leinster), T Furlong (Leinster), D Toner (Leinster), J Ryan (Leinster), CJ Stander (Munster), P O'Mahony (Captain, Munster), J Conan (Leinster).

Replacements: N Scannell (Munster), C Healy (Leinster), J Ryan (Munster), T Beirne (Scarlets), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), K Marmion (Connacht), R Byrne (Leinster), J Larmour (Leinster).

Crooked banker David Drumm jailed for six years

 Former Anglo-Irish chief David Drumm has been jailed for six years.

Former Anglo-Irish chief David Drumm has been jailed for six years.

A former banker who led a bust institution which contributed to the collapse of the Irish economy has been sentenced to six years in prison.

David Drumm, 51, was convicted earlier this month at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting after arranging dishonest and fraudulent multibillion-euro transfers to boost the books of the failed bank Anglo-Irish in the months before it imploded in 2008.

Judge Karen O'Connor said Drumm will be given credit for the five and a half months he served in custody in the United States during his extradition to Ireland in 2015.

Anglo was taken into state control in January 2009 following a run on its deposits and plummeting share prices.

Bailing out Anglo was to cost taxpayers billions of euro.

The judge said Drumm was being sentenced for the two offences he had been convicted of, and not for Ireland's financial collapse.

"This court is not sentencing Mr Drumm for causing the financial crisis. Nor is this court sentencing Mr Drumm for the recession which occurred," she told the court.

"This offending did not cause Anglo-Irish Bank to collapse.

"This court will sentence Mr Drumm only for the two specific offences for which he has been convicted."

She went on to tell the court she was of the view that eight years' imprisonment was the "appropriate headline figure".

But the judge said: "Taking into consideration the mitigating factors, this court is going to impose a sentence of six years' imprisonment in relation to counts one and two."

Drumm was convicted in connection with the €7.2 billion fraud following a trial that lasted more than 80 days.

He had denied conspiring to "dishonestly" create the false and misleading impression that deposits in 2008 were €7.2 billion larger than they were as well as knowingly presenting the false figures to the market in December 2008.

 David Drumm was convicted in connection with the €7.2 billion fraud following a trial that lasted more than 80 days.

David Drumm was convicted in connection with the €7.2 billion fraud following a trial that lasted more than 80 days.

But he was found guilty of two offences, conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law and false accounting contrary to section 10 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001.

The judge said the second offence flowed from the first, and that the jury rejected submissions made on behalf of Drumm and convicted him unanimously.

"He was the chief executive officer at the time, a member of the board of and therefore in a position of trust in relation to the bank, its depositors, investors and lenders and also potential depositors, investors and lenders.

"In addition, the public are entitled to trust the information published by a public limited company and to make decisions based on that information."

She added: "Mr Drumm along with others put together a dishonest scheme and engaged in transactions, designed to inflate deposits from a non-banking entity to Anglo-Irish Bank on September 30 2008 which was the reporting year end date for that bank.

"The intention was to create the false and misleading impression that Anglo Irish Bank was stronger or in a healthier position than it actually was as a result of 7.2 billion euro in corporate deposits i.e. deposits from a non-bank entity."

And she told the court: "The fact that the scheme ultimately did not succeed is irrelevant. Mr Drumm was part of a conspiracy which potentially could have caused significant loss.

"It appears that no actual money was lost. From the evidence it is clear he was the driving force in Anglo-Irish Bank and the person behind the funding initiatives being considered by the bank.

"He authorised the transactions, was at the helm of the bank, and clearly extremely 'hands-on' in his position in the bank."

Dressed in a dark suit and blue open-collar shirt, Drumm, of Shenick Avenue in Skerries, Co Dublin, listened intently as the judge delivered his sentence, but gave no reaction.

Three of his former colleagues - John Bowe from Anglo's treasury department, Willie McAteer, the bank's former director of finance and the former chief executive officer of Irish Life and Permanent, Denis Casey, were all convicted of the same conspiracy and jailed in 2016 for terms ranging from two to three and a half years.

The judge pointed out during sentencing that McAteer and Bowe "were subordinates to Mr Drumm within the company structure in Anglo Irish Bank".

"Mr Drumm held a more senior position and was a more influential figure. He had a leadership role," she said.

Inspiring Irish win sets up mouth-watering Sydney decider

 Jordan Larmour on the burst against the Wallabies in Melbourne. Picture: Andy Brownbill

Jordan Larmour on the burst against the Wallabies in Melbourne. Picture: Andy Brownbill

Ireland's historic three-match series will come down to a winner-takes-all finale in Sydney next Saturday after the tourists secured a first away win in Australia in exactly 39 years.

With big hitters like Johnny Sexton and Tadhg Furlong back in the starting XV following the 18-9 first Test reversal, Joe Schmidt's Six Nations champions produced some of their best rugby of the season as they over-powered the Wallabies at the breakdown, where captain Peter O'Mahony was immense.

Both sides will count the cost of this bruising encounter in the coming days after a host of players were forced off injured, but Ireland have the wind in their sails after tries from Andrew Conway and Furlong and a 16-point haul from Sexton saw them home 26-21 in front of an attendance of 29,018.

Prop Cian Healy could find himself in disciplinary trouble after Australia coach Michael Cheika questioned his role in scrum-half Will Genia's departure.

The Wallaby number nine's series is over after he broke his arm in a 25th-minute incident involving the Leinster star, who himself departed a physical contest early with a shoulder injury early in the second-half.

Genia will undergo surgery on the injury but should be fit for the Rugby Championship.

 Andrew Conway scores Ireland's first try in Melbourne. Picture: Andy Brownbill

Andrew Conway scores Ireland's first try in Melbourne. Picture: Andy Brownbill

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt was upbeat about the prospects of Andrew Conway (hip), Dan Leavy (sternum) and Healy's capacity to recover in time for the final Test.

Although Australia were upset with the circumstances surrounding Genia's injury, they do not intend to report the incident to the authorities.

However, citing commissioner Mike O'Leary may choose to review Healy's actions.

Ireland's win was their first over Australia away from home since 1979, but Schmidt will not celebrate until his team finish the job next week.

"All we did was balance the series," he said.

"I think it all depends on what we can deliver next week and I know the Wallabies will be thinking the same thing.

"They're a really good side and if they do get a bit more access I know as you saw toward the end we were chasing shadows.

"So, nothing feels monumental when it's one-all. It feels like there's still a huge amount to play for.

 Jams Ryan makes a break during the second test match. Picture: Andy Brownbill

Jams Ryan makes a break during the second test match. Picture: Andy Brownbill

"We'll glue ourselves back together, get the trip out of the way to Sydney tomorrow and Monday, have a bit of a look back at the game and then get back out on the training pitch in North Sydney Oval and try to work our way through things.

"There's still a few things that we know we need to do better because we know they're going to keep getting better."

Although a series win is the primary goal, the Ireland head coach is intent on continuing his rotation policy with next year's World Cup in mind after handing a Test debut to Scarlets second-row Tadhg Beirne.

"We definitely want to win the series, but we've probably got 10 games now between this tour and when we go into our warm-up to the World Cup," he said.

"The thing that we want to believe about our squad is that there's less and less between players, and so selection is a contest every time."


Schmidt makes eight changes in bid to rescue series

 Johnny Sexton will start at No 10 in a new-look Irish side for second test. 

Johnny Sexton will start at No 10 in a new-look Irish side for second test. 

Johnny Sexton has returned to Ireland's starting line-up after Joe Schmidt overhauled his team in a bid to deliver a rare victory against the Wallabies in Australia.

Many expat fans who emigrated in the 1980s have yet to see Ireland win on Australian soil.

Since 1987, there have been eleven tests and eleven wins for the men in gold.

How those long-suffering fans would love to see Joe Schmidt's star-studded side get one over their talented hosts.

Sexton was a key component in Ireland's Grand Slam success earlier this year but was surprisingly benched for the first Test in Brisbane.

Beaten 18-9 last weekend, Ireland must win in Melbourne on Saturday to keep their three-match series victory hopes alive.

In an effort to make that happen Schmidt has made eight alterations to his team, which Ireland announced on Thursday. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, meanwhile, will field an unchanged line-up.

Returning to Ireland's starting XV alongside fly-half Sexton are Tadhg Furlong and Cian Healy, while Joey Carbery drops to the sidelines and there's no place for try-scoring machine Jacob Stockdale.

Schmidt had justified keeping Sexton on the bench in the first Test because he wanted to give Carbery the best opportunity to shine on the international stage.

Niall Scannell completes the new-look front row alongside Furlong and Healy, while Brisbane starter James Ryan is joined in the second row by Devin Toner.

Absent from the team sheet in Queensland, flanker Dan Leavy also returns to the starting line-up in the back row with captain Peter O'Mahony, with CJ Stander unchanged at number eight.

After starting in Brisbane, Conor Murray resumes scrum-half duties, while Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose are brought in as centres.

Andrew Conway takes up Keith Earls's position at 14, while Earls is moved to 11, and first Test starter Rob Kearney lines up at full-back.

Munster's Tadhg Beirne is set for his first cap after being named among the reserves alongside Rob Herring, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Jordan Larmour and Carbery.

Ireland team: Kearney (Leinster), Conway (Munster), Ringrose (Leinster), Henshaw (Leinster), Earls (Munster), Sexton (Leinster), Murray (Munster); Healy (Leinster), Scannell (Munster), Furlong (Leinster), Ryan (Leinster), Toner (Leinster), O'Mahony (Munster), Leavy (Leinster), Stander (Munster).

Replacements: Herring (Ulster), McGrath (Leinster), Porter (Leinster), Beirne (Scarlets), Murphy (Leinster), Cooney (Ulster), Carbery (Leinster), Larmour (Leinster).

Irish will bounce back, says frustrated hooker

 Robbie Henshaw in action for Ireland against the Wallabies in Brisbane. Picture: Tertius Pickard

Robbie Henshaw in action for Ireland against the Wallabies in Brisbane. Picture: Tertius Pickard

Ireland hooker Rob Herring insists his side will not lose faith after suffering their first defeat in 13 Test matches, but admits they need to do better at taking their opportunities.

Joe Schmidt's side now face an uphill battle to rescue the three-game series as they move to Melbourne ahead of the second Test.

The Grand Slam winners were unable to muster a try during a bruising encounter at Suncorp Stadium and Herring believes they left plenty of points behind.

Ireland were twice denied by the television match official, while Joey Carbery missed a second-half penalty and their handling let them down under pressure at key moments.

A frustrated Herring said he is confident the Six Nations champions can turn things around as they pick apart their performance in the coming days.

"There was a fair bit of disappointment in the changing room, Joe came in and said we have some good things to work on now," the South African-born Ulster player said.

"That's the beauty of it, it's a three-Test series and we've just got to get better now.

"We've got to improve on what we let ourselves down on in this game and move on.

"We need to convert pressure into points, we had a couple of good opportunities in their 22 and just coughed the ball up for one reason or another.

"I think that's the key thing for us, converting those opportunities.

"We have to be confident, we've been building for a long time."

Michael Cheika's Australia were the more clinical team in attack, but it was their defensive effort and brutish physicality that drew most comment from the Irish camp after the game.

 John Ryan in action at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Picture: Tertius Pickard

John Ryan in action at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Picture: Tertius Pickard

"Defensively, they put us under a lot of pressure," Herring said.

"They came out firing with a good defensive line, some good hits and I guess we just coughed up the ball a few times which was what they were trying to do with that defensive pressure.

"We struggled to get our way into the game from there, we did hang on for a bit but I felt like Australia were always in the ascendancy.

"We knew coming into the game that any sort of loose ball, they thrive on that.

"They've very dangerous players in the backs, it showed. They took their opportunities well.

"They took their opportunities better than we did."

After playing a leading role in establishing the 1-0 lead in the series, Wallaby centre Kurtley Beale is expecting an Irish backlash in Melbourne.

"The Irish will be coming back hungry, keen to get the result. We understand the job's not over yet," he said.

"It's time to recover and make sure we're in the best position to get the win next week."

"The series isn't over yet, the group's fully aware of that.

"Will Genia got us together after the game and made sure that we enjoyed the win, but the focus quickly switched to Melbourne next week."

Building a forum for Irish know-how

 Michael Cahalane is one of the driving forces behind the newly-formed Club Hibernia.

Michael Cahalane is one of the driving forces behind the newly-formed Club Hibernia.

A GROUP of Irish Australians are banding together to launch a new networking organisation for construction industry professionals in New South Wales.

Called Club Hibernia, launched this week, will meet quarterly in Sydney for ‘networking, knowledge-sharing and social events’. 

Michael Cahalane, a civil engineer from Cork, was one of the people who came up with the idea.

”We had a conversation over a few pints that there was no real forum or networking association for Irish professionals in the construction industry,” he said.

”There’s such a large population of us working in the industry now. We decided there might be some value out of it.”

Some of the people who've been signing up include contractors, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and project managers.  While Irish people are in the majority, you don't have to be Irish to join..

“It’s been formed by Irish people and there is a very Irish tint to it, but there are already plenty of people who work with us who aren’t Irish who are coming along," Mr Cahalane said.

He said the construction industry was currently “very bullish in NSW”.

 “There is a massive infrastructure boom - projects like NorthConnex, WestConnex, the Sydney Metro, Sydney light rail….. and then you have all the commercial projects around Barangaroo and around Central Station. Residential is still quite strong too, so it is a really good industry to be in at the moment.”

He said many Irish construction staff who’d come here during the recession are now in senior positions.

He himself has been in Australia for 12 years and is a director at Warren Smith and Partners – a consulting engineering firm employing about 60 people.

Along with Mr Cahalane, the  other Club Hibernia committee members are: Jimmy Larkin (MBM); Pat Cronin (BDM Constructions); Cathy Hughes (Enterprise Ireland); Mick O’Driscoll (DCWC); Brian O’Mainin (Johnstaff); Francis Houlihan (Lend Lease); Elvire Callaghan (MSJ Architects); Ken O’Neill (Aurecon).

While their aim is to keep the quarterly events informal, they may have guest speakers in the future.

“At worst it will be a few pints and a bit of craic,” Mr Cahalane said.

“But hopefully people can get a bit of value out of it by making new contacts and doing some new business - or finding a new career path.”

To find out more, email Michael at