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Saturday, 9 November, 2002, 16:20 GMT
Gritty Ireland stun Aussies
Ireland tackled tremendously to unsettle the Australians
Anthony Foley (left) attempts to stop Stirling Mortlock
Ireland 18-9 Australia

Ireland produced a magnificent performance to record their first victory in 12 attempts against Australia.

Eddie O'Sullivan's team had heroes all over the pitch but none more so than fly-half Ronan O'Gara who kicked all the Irish points.

Victor Costello had a colossal game for the Irish and was named man-of-the-match even though he was substituted in the final quarter.

O'Gara opened the scoring with a 35-metre penalty in the 12th minute - and the Irish kept ahead of the world champions until the final whistle.

Brian O'Driscoll was captaining Ireland for the first time
Brian O'Driscoll celebrates victory

Australian suffered a blow in the 15th minute with Owen Finegan forced to leave the field because of a dislocated shoulder with Justin Harrison introduced.

O'Gara then showed admirable composure in the difficult kicking conditions to knock over a 30-metre effort from a tight angle to extend Ireland's lead in the 19th minute.

Shane Horgan came close to an Ireland try when he was held up inches from the line on the half hour mark.

But the Irish had already won a penalty which O'Gara knocked over.

  Match details:
Ireland 18 (12)
Pens: O'Gara 6
Australia 9 (3)

Pens: Burke 3

Matthew Burke finally opened Australia's account in the 33th with a 27-metre penalty which took his international tally over the 800-point mark.

However, O'Gara quickly restored Ireland's nine-point advantage after Australian number eight Toutai Kefu had been penalised in the line-out.

Ireland suffered an injury blow at the interval with winger Denis Hickie forced to leave the field through injury with John Kelly coming on.

Burke's second successful penalty in the 45th minute reduced Ireland's lead to six points after Gleeson had been caught handling in a ruck.

However, O'Gara maintained his 100 per cent with the boot two minutes later to punish a George Smith indiscretion to leave Ireland nine ahead once more.

Irish luck

The Australians had Stirling Mortlock's effort ruled out, the touch judge ruling that Horgan had applied downward pressure on the ball before Mortlock had dived over the line.

Spurred on by that bit of luck, Ireland immediately broke into the Australian half and won another penalty which O'Gara superbly stroked over.

Burke kicked his third penalty on the hour to again reduce Ireland's lead to nine points - but there the margin stayed.

Ireland: Girvan Dempsey, Shane Horgan, Brian O'Driscoll (capt), Kevin Maggs, Denis Hickie, Ronan O'Gara, Peter Stringer, Anthony Foley, Keith Gleeson, Victor Costello, Gary Longwell, John Hayes, Shane Byrne, Reggie Corrigan.
Replacements: Frank Sheahan, Marcus Horan, Leo Cullen, Alan Quinlan, Guy Easterby, David Humphreys, John Kelly.

Australia: Matthew Burke; Wendell Sailor, Stirling Mortlock, Daniel Herbert, Scott Staniforth; Stephen Larkham, George Gregan (capt); Toutai Kefu, George Smith, Matt Cockbain, David Giffin, Owen Finegan, Patricio Noriega, Adam Freier, Nick Stiles.
Replacements: Brendan Cannon, Ben Darwin, Justin Harrison, David Croft, Chris Whitaker, Elton Flatley, Matt Giteau.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Nzl)

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll
"We decided to have belief in ourselves this week"
Ireland's Victor Costello
"We're a team going forward"
Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan
"We had a clear picture of what we wanted to do"
 NOV 9 INTERNATIONALS
 ENG V NZ
 IRE V AUS
 WALES V FIJI
 SCOT V ROM
 FRANCE V SA

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