Ireland got a rude awakening at the hands of a powerful and abrasive Jamaican team when they met in their rugby league international in Bray
The Reggae Warriors ran in 12 tries as their professional players dominated an all amateur Ireland side shorn of several players including captain Casey Dunne who starred in recent wins over Malta and Italy.
In front of a healthy crowd at a sun-drenched Carlisle Grounds, the Jamaicans boasted a side brimming with physicality and aggression. They proved a much sterner test for the Irish than recent opposition. The Wolfhounds struggled to hold on to possession as they were put under intense pressure in attack and defence by the visitors.
There was a poignant cross-code sporting moment before kick-off prior to kick-off when a minute’s silence was observed for Munster Rugby Union coach Anthony Foley who sadly passed away earlier in the day.
Once the game kicked off it became clear that the Jamaicans meant business. They dominated the tackle and contact areas, and ran in seven tries in the first half — former Hull FC winger Richie Barnett helping himself to a brace of scores.
Ireland responded with tries from hooker Connor Phillips and prop Chris Hall have responded with tries for the home side, but they faced an uphill struggle against bigger opponents.
The second-half saw a spirited effort by the Gareth Gill and Chris Hall using good footwork to get beyond the gainline in contact. Onisi Burekama crossed for the home side’s third try but the Jamaicans were showing their style as well as their force, and Aaron Jones-Bishop was the tormentor in chief with his clever footwork and passing.
Barnett helped himself to another two tries, while opposite winger Alexander Jones also scored twice for the Jamaicans, who face Wales next week.
For Ireland, attention now turns to the World Cup qualifiers, with Ireland facing Spain in Valencia next Saturday before taking on Russia back in Bray on October 29th.
There will be a very different look to the Ireland team, with the overseas professionals coming in to physically bolster the squad alongside eight domestic players.
T: Hall, Phillips, Burekama
C: J Kelly 2
T: Barnett 4, A Brown 2, Andrade 2, Farrell, Peltier, Bowman, Reitte,
C: Coleman 10