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Irish on the eight-ball - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Sat, 03 Nov 2007 15:07:00 GMT
Ireland has become the eighth nation into the 2008 Rugby League World Cup after snatching a late minute 16-all draw against Lebanon in Dewsbury this morning.

It is the second time that the two teams have drawn in their European Pool but the Irish emerge as Euro A (pool 1) winners courtesy of superior results against the third nation in the pool, Russia.

Lebanon at one stage seemed to have the match in its keeping but the Irish fought back and with a late penalty secured the draw.

Lebanon's last hope is a four nation repechage event involving the USA, Samoa, and the loser of tomorrow's match in Glasgow.

The repechage final will be decided at Featherstone on November 4 and will decide the tenth and final position in the main draw to be played in Australia between October 25 and November 22, 2008.
Every eye in Ireland was smiling when substitute Chris Bridge landed the equalising goal from a dubious penalty just four minutes from fulltime.

Lebanon scored three tries to two but flouted the rule book and were their own worst enemy.

Ireland coach Andy Kelly was an emotional wreck after the game.

"I am overwhelmed-this is my greatest moment," he said, jigging as he poured superlatives on his gritty side.

True grit did win for Ireland.

From the very first minute Ireland "had come to play." The dual attack on Lebanon prop Ray Moujalli by Mick Cassidy and Eamon O'Carroll in the first minute led to halfback Liam Finn posting the first try.

Finn took no prisoners throughout a spirited encounter, spiced with rough and tumble defence. Lebanon fired head high salvos at will. More coat hangers than you would find in London dry cleaners.

One of those indiscretions led to Lebanon prop Charlie Nohra being sin-binned at as crucial stage.

A neat try from Lebanon half George Ndaira in the 17th minute gave the war-torn country some hope but Ireland retaliated when five-eighth Paul Handforth scored chasing a kick from centre Sean Gleeson.

Both teams had tries disallowed. Lebanon still fuming long after the game over Hassan Saleh being ruled off-side after crossing.

Lebanon came back into the game when Ireland fullback Scott Grix made a meal of a high kick. Anthony Farrah punted high, Griz dropped his bundle and Frank Samia picked up the crumbs for the try.

Scores were level until Lebanon fullback Toufic Nicholas scored from a penalty but when Salem went high the Irish cashed-in with a successful kick at goal.

Lebanon manager Anthony Elias was not happy and he had an army of supporters echoing his sentiments.

"We scored three tries to two and they were given two soft penalties," Elias said.

"They scored from ricochets and re-bounds.

"Talk about "the luck of the Irish!"

Ireland 16 (Finn, Handforth tries; Bridge 4 goals) d. Lebanon 16 (Ndaira, Salem, Samia tries; Nicholas 2 goals). - Read More, Here