Ireland finished the 2017 Rugby League World Cup on a high, after a 34-6 win against Wales today in Perth.
The luck of the Irish wasn't with the Wolfhounds, despite their six tries-to one victory, and their upset against Italy earlier, they are eliminated from this edition of the Rugby League World Cup while Samoa progress, without a win.
That fact didn't dampen the Irish spirit, as they dominated the opening half, racing out to a 22-nil halftime lead, and withstood a brief fightback, registered two more scores to record their largest margin in history. It was the forwards that dominated the try-scoring.
Giants second-rower Oliver Roberts led from the front with a double, as Joe Philbin also crossed. Liam Finn, Api Pewhairangi and Liam Kay completed the scoring as the Wolfhounds rebounded from their close loss to the PNG Kumuls last weekend.
It has been disappointing tournament from Wales, as they were on the end of two hidings, and this afternoon while a winnable game, they were second fiddle all game as the Irish forwards laid the platform for the experienced heads to profit from.
If not for the video official, correctly, ruling that Roberts was short, it could have been the rarest feat of a forward hat-trick. Between Roberts, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Kyle Amor, the Irish have a solid base alongside Finn, Pewhairangi and Grix in the spine makes for a bright future. Now they just need, like most second-tier nations, need more opportunities to play together.
A sole bright spot for the Dragons, was emergency call-up Josh Ralph, the young half from the Storm system brought some structure to the Welsh attack and provided the assist of the game, with a peach of a cut-out ball for Ben Morris to find the only score.
Both teams head from the tournament, albeit with different moods. Ireland will be buoyed with two victories, as the Welsh rue a missed chance, and need to improve before the next staging of the cup, back in the northern hemisphere.