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Martin O'Neill leaves Irish job 'with heavy heart'

 Martin O’Neill’s five-year term as manager of the Republic Of Ireland has ended.

Martin O’Neill’s five-year term as manager of the Republic Of Ireland has ended.

Mick McCarthy is the front-runner in the race to replace Martin O'Neill as Republic of Ireland manager after his five-year reign came to an abrupt close.

O'Neill, assistant Roy Keane and their staff parted company with the Football Association of Ireland on Wednesday after its chief executive John Delaney had held talks with the 66-year-old in London on Tuesday evening.

The split had looked increasingly inevitable after a poor Nations League campaign which drew to a close with Monday night's 0-0 draw with Denmark in Aarhus, during which Ireland failed to muster a single shot on target.

In a statement released on his behalf by the League Manager's Association, O'Neill said: "I have had the great honour of managing the Republic of Ireland national football team for the past five years and it is with a heavy heart that I leave this role.

"It was one of my lifetime ambitions to take charge of the Irish senior squad and I would like to thank the FAI board for giving me that opportunity."

He continued: "Knowing that the past year would be a transitional phase for the squad, I have capped twelve new players in the last nine games, with the aim that they become significant international contributors in the coming campaign.

"To the players, I reserve great praise and admiration for the phenomenal commitment they have shown whilst wearing the Irish shirt."

O'Neill's departure from a contract which was due to expire after his side's involvement in Euro 2020 was confirmed in a statement from the FAI.

It read: "The board of the Football Association of Ireland have mutually agreed with Martin O'Neill to part company.

"The FAI board will meet promptly to discuss the process of recruiting a new manager."

Delaney was thrilled to unveil his "dream team" management duo in November 2013 and his faith in the pair was initially rewarded when they guided the Republic to the Euro 2016 finals and then to the play-offs for this summer's World Cup.

Delaney said: "I would like to thank Martin, Roy, and the management team for the impact that they had with the Ireland team. I wish Martin, and the management team, the very best for the future."

Poor results - Ireland have won just one of their last 11 games and have not scored in 397 minutes of football - and uninspiring performances in the last year have seen O'Neill and Keane's stock fall alarmingly.

And the boos which greeted the final whistle in last Thursday evening's 0-0 friendly draw with Northern Ireland at a sparsely-populated Aviva Stadium are understood to have brought matters to a head.

 Roy Keane also leaves his job as assistant manager to Martin O’Neill.

Roy Keane also leaves his job as assistant manager to Martin O’Neill.

The FAI is keen to make a swift appointment, with the draw for the Euro 2020 finals due to take place in Dublin on December 2, and, as one of the hosts, they do not want to be seen as presiding over a team in flux as Europe's great and good arrive in the city.

To that end, McCarthy, who took the Republic to the 2002 World Cup finals in the Far East during a previous spell in charge, represents an attractive proposition.

He has a proven track record, already has a relationship with the FAI hierarchy and, perhaps more importantly to a governing body still paying for the redevelopment of the Aviva Stadium, is available without the need to pay compensation after leaving Ipswich in April.

McCarthy is understood to be interested in the vacancy and would relish the opportunity to pick up the reins he surrendered in 2002 once again, although he has recently rejected approaches from two English clubs and remains in demand.

But, asked in 2016 if he could return to the Ireland job one day, he told the Irish Examiner: "If there's no manager in it and I'm out of work and someone asked me to do it, of course I'd do it."

McCarthy is by no means the only candidate, with Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and Hibernian counterpart Neil Lennon having also been mentioned in dispatches, while Brighton boss Chris Hughton and Dundalk's Stephen Kenny would have popular support, although Hughton in particular appears more than content where he is.

O'Neill's departure may not have come as too much of a surprise, although he had grown increasingly defiant amid a tide of criticism.

Speaking after last month's 1-0 home defeat by Wales, which all but confirmed the Republic's relegation from Nations League B, the former Celtic manager insisted they would qualify for the Euro 2020 finals.

Asked why he was so optimistic, he replied: "Because I'm good."

Ireland World Cup favourites, says All Blacks coach

 Ireland’s delighted coach Joe Schmidt and captain Rory Best after the historic win.

Ireland’s delighted coach Joe Schmidt and captain Rory Best after the historic win.

Steve Hansen has installed Ireland as World Cup favourites following their 16-9 win over his New Zealand side in Dublin.

All Blacks boss Hansen hailed Ireland as the "number-one team in the world" following their superlative victory over his back-to-back world champions at the Aviva Stadium.

New Zealand retained their world number-one status despite losing to number-two side Ireland - but head coach Hansen had claimed before the clash that the winner would swipe the global bragging rights.

The All Blacks boss stuck to his word in the wake of Ireland's triumph, and even labelled Joe Schmidt's Ireland as the front-runners for next year's World Cup.

"As I said earlier in the week this was number one versus number two in the world," said Hansen.

"So as of now they are the number-one team in the world.

"So if you want to make them World Cup favourites, go ahead. I guess they are favourites."

 All Blacks coach Steve Hansen at the Aviva Stadium.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen at the Aviva Stadium.

Jacob Stockdale's 12th try in just 14 Tests sealed Ireland's second-ever victory over New Zealand, backing up their maiden win over the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016, the 40-29 triumph.

Ireland defended for their lives in the second-half and shut out the All Blacks, with the visitors tryless for the first time against a northern hemisphere nation since the 1995 clash with France.

Ireland boss Schmidt insisted afterwards however that All Blacks coach Hansen installing his men as World Cup favourites should be viewed as a cute ruse.

Asked if Hansen's words should be viewed as kidology, Schmidt said: "I think he probably enjoyed a little bit of banter.

"I've huge respect for Steve, Fozzy, and Scott MacLeod, their coaching staff.

"So for us to be favourites when they have been the world number-one team for nine years, and continue to be the world number-one team.

"We were at home, and they were coming off a long series of games where they have travelled around the world a number of times.

"I thought the crowd were phenomenal tonight. And that's a lot of things stacked in our favour.

"So we'll take tonight, and leave 11 months' time for 11 months' time."

Asked if Ireland are now World Cup favourites, Schmidt added: "The World Cup? In 12 months' time?

"We've got to work hard to make sure we're ready for the USA (next Saturday).

"People will I suppose postulate about who's where, who's favourite. It's a nebulous thing for us."

Irish-born Sinead Diver wins Melbourne marathon

 Sinead Diver

Sinead Diver

Mayo-mum Sinéad Diver has won the Melbourne Marathon in record time.

Diver, who moved to Melbourne in 2002 and now calls Australia home, set a new course record with a time of 2:25:19 making her the fastest ever Australian female athlete to complete the 42.195km distance in Australia.

It’s also the second fastest marathon ever run by an Irish woman after Catherina McKiernan’s record of 2:22:23.

“Today was the best marathon experience I’ve ever had. It’s really special to get a PB in my hometown. Finishing in the ‘G’, with all my family and friends cheering me on was so emotional,” said the Irish Australian.

Diver is a three-time World Championship representative, and has a spate of wins to date including the Launceston 10, where she broke a course record and ran the fastest 10km road race by an Australian since 2006. 

Diver’s best performance came at the Sunshine Coast Half Marathon where she ran 1:09:20, the fastest time by an Australian in eight years and second fastest ever recorded in Australia. 

She now sets her sights on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

 Sinead Diver crosses the finish line at the MCG.

Sinead Diver crosses the finish line at the MCG.

Magpies sign Mayo GAA star for AFLW

 Sarah Rowe will play for the Magpies in the AFLW competition.

Sarah Rowe will play for the Magpies in the AFLW competition.

Mayo forward Sarah Rowe has signed a deal that will see her join Collingwood in the forthcoming AFLW season. 

The 23-year-old follows long term Mayo team mate Cora Staunton (Greater Western Sydney Giants) and Laura Corrigan-Duryea of Cavan who played with Melbourne Demons for the AFLW’s first two seasons before being delisted recently. 

Rowe has represented Republic of Ireland at soccer and has declared her intention to return to Mayo after her five months in Australia to help her county in their bid for the All-Ireland. 

Rowe travelled to Australia in April, meeting with several clubs before choosing the Magpies. 

“I’m really looking forward to it,” she told the Irish Echo. “I don’t know exactly what to expect. It’s a complete new challenge for me, a new sport, a lot to learn but really looking forward to that aspect of it as well and putting myself out of my comfort zone.

“Football is what I grew up doing so instinct tells me what to do next and I would be able to help people around me whereas now I’m going to need a lot of help off other girls on the team and going to the manager with a lot of questions and stuff. It’s going to be a different role for me completely. You want to try prove yourself in one way but you need to learn all the skills first. It’s just gonna take time.”

Sarah had never been to Australia before she also visited the clubs Carlton, Western Bulldogs, Melbourne, Geelong and North Melbourne. 

“Collingwood was the first club I saw. I was extremely impressed, I thought they were so professional with their presentation. They made me feel very much at home very quickly.”

Rowe and Mayo were defeated by Dublin in last year’s All-Ireland Ladies final. This campaign saw them exit to Galway at the quarter-final stage: 

“Hopefully I learn stuff that I can bring back to Mayo. It’s always been my dream to win an All-Ireland so I would never turn my back on that but it’s great that I get to do both. Going professional is hopefully going to stand to me big time. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s very appealing for Irish girls at the minute.”

Sarah herself has spoken about the inequalities between men’s and women’s sport in Ireland. She was encouraged by what she saw in Australia in this aspect: “The girls get as much of an opportunity as the boys to be in an environment where they can excel so I really liked that side of it. In Ireland at the minute it’s improving an awful lot, things are looking up but it’s still not there yet.”

Sarah will arrive in Australia ahead of pre-season training with Collingwood on November 1. 

Eighteen other Irish women have arrived in Melbourne to try their luck at the Australian game.

Hawks hand Meath rookie AFL debut

 Conor Nash becomes the third Irishman to debut in the AFL this season.

Conor Nash becomes the third Irishman to debut in the AFL this season.

Meathman Conor Nash will debut for Hawthorn FC this weekend, the third Irishman to debut in the AFL in 2018.

The 20-year-old joined the Hawks in late 2016 as a Category B rookie.

A promising athlete in his youth, Nash split his time playing Gaelic football and rugby. He represented Ireland in the U18 rugby side, and was touted as a star in the making due to his pace and stature.

He has since transferred these traits to the game of Aussie Rules, enjoying a breakout season with the Box Hill Hawks while averaging 13 disposals, four marks and just under a goal a game.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” Nash told Hawthorn's website after hearing the news that he’d be making his AFL debut against the Geelong Cats this weekend where he will come up against Laois-man Zach Tuohy and Kerryman Mark O'Connor who may get his first game for the year.

“When I found out yesterday in front of the family in the car, it was just pure joy."

Nash’s parents and young brother and sister were enjoying a holiday in Australia and were preparing to return to Ireland before receiving the news.

“Clarko (coach Alistair Clarkson) asked them if they could prolong their flights until Sunday or Monday,” Nash said. 

“I can’t wait, and I look forward to contributing to the team."

“They’ll get to see me play which is a very special moment for them, and for myself as well.”

The 197cm utility from Navan has shown an aptitude for several different positions on the ground, and says he’ll bring the pressure in whatever role he is given.

“I’ll be creating chaos, [creating] pressure as well, and using my speed and athleticism. 

“I’m sure I’ll be spent after the game.”

Nash becomes the third Irish player to debut in 2018 behind Tipperary's Colin O'Riordan for the Sydney Swans and Darragh Joyce for St Kilda. Nash's Irish teammate Conor Glass made his debut last year but none of the trio have been selected this weekend.

Elsewhere, Pearce Hanley is back in action for the Gold Coast Suns, Ciaran Byrne retains his place for Carlton and Conor McKenna starts for Essendon. 

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.

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).

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."

Joey Carbery to start at out-half for first test

 Joey Carbery will start at No 10 in the first test against the Wallabies on Saturday.

Joey Carbery will start at No 10 in the first test against the Wallabies on Saturday.

Grand slam stars Johnny Sexton and Tadhg Furlong have been named on the bench for the first test against Australia on Saturday.

Joe Schmidt has handed new Munster signing Joey Carbery his biggest opportunity to date, naming him as the starting No 10 in a new-look Irish team that does not include Dan Leavy, Devin Toner or Garry Ringrose.

In the absence through injury of Rory Best, Peter O’Mahony fills in as captain and is joined in the backrow by Jordi Murphy at openside and CJ Stander at No.8.  James Ryan and Iain Henderson fill the lock positions with Jack McGrath, Rob Herring and John Ryan making up the front row.

Rob Kearney is named at fullback and is joined in the outfield by Jacob Stockdale and Keith Earls.  Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw are reunited in midfield with Conor Murray at halfback.

The replacements named are Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong, Quinn Roux, Jack Conan, Kieran Marmion, Johnny Sexton and Jordan Larmour.

RELAND squad for 1st Test v Australia – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

BACKS: 15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 83 caps, 14. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 67 caps, 13. Robbie Henshaw(Buccaneers/Leinster) 33 caps, 12. Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 7 caps, 11. Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 9 caps, 10. Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) 10 caps, 9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 64 caps

FORWARDS: 1. Jack McGrath (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 47 caps, 2. Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 3 caps, 3. John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 13 caps, 4. Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 38 caps, 5. James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 8 caps, 5. Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 38 caps, 6. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 47 caps capt, 7. Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 20 caps, 8. CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 23 caps.

Replacements: 16. Sean Cronin (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 61 caps, 17. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 78 caps, 18. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 23 caps, 19. Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 5 caps, 20. Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 7 caps, 21. Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 21 caps, 22. Johnny Sexton (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 73 caps, 23. Jordan Larmour (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 3 caps.