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Ireland defeated the United States 55-19 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. The Irish side proved to be deadly off the set piece and in open play, racking up nine tries in route to a strong victory.
The Eagles kicked off to start the game pinning Ireland deep in its own territory. After several phases, Ireland attempted to grub the ball through the defense but it was tipped. Nate Augspurger jumped on the ball and the Eagles started their attack inside the Ireland 22. The United States worked the ball right and it looked like Mike T’eo outflanked the defense but he could not get to the corner.
The Irish defense continued to hang tough and eventually won a penalty at the 22-meter line. The visitors kicked to touch for a lineout. Off the lineout the Irish went right. They found a gap and managed to spring winger Keith Earls for a try in the corner and a 5-0 lead by minute three.
The United States monopolized possession deep in Ireland territory for the next seven minutes or so. A turnover at the breakdown, however, sprung Ireland. The Eagles were able to prevent a score but were forced back inside their own 22 after a kick.
The Eagles continued to probe but a knock-on ultimately ended the attack. The ensuing scrum resulted in a penalty to the Irish and a kick to touch. Off the lineout, once again Earls found a gap in the center of the pitch. This time, however, he found his counterpart Jacob Stockdale who sprinted into the left corner from about 20 meters out for a 12-0 lead.
Ireland continued the onslaught minutes later. Earls fielded a cheeky kick and beat a defender down the right sideline. Martin Iosefo chased the winger down and brought him to touch to momentarily save a score. The Eagles won the lineout on their own five meter line and AJ MacGinty kicked out of trouble to Earls. The winger passed it inside to Tiernan O’Halloran and the fullback split a gap and found Earls. Earls slipped it to scrumhalf Kiernan Marmion who sprinted towards to goal line. Ben Cima made a great tackle but Marmoin offloaded back to Earls for his second of the game.
The United States struck back immediately for its first score of the game. Off the kick off Nick Civetta charged down a clearance kick, scooped up the ball and lumbered in under the posts. With the conversion the Eagles trailed 17-7.
Ireland started to take control of more possession midway through the half. The Eagles defended valiantly but a penalty put them deep inside their territory. The Irish formed a maul off the lineout and hooker Niall Scannell powered over to extend the lead 22-7.
Ireland kept making things happen off the set piece. Deep in their own territory, Marmion picked the ball off the back of the scrum and ran down the right sideline. Once again, he linked with Earls and sent him through down the sideline. Cima made another try saving tackle but Marmion was there for the offload. The scrummy beat several defenders and dotted down to extend the lead to 29-7.
The Irish continued to dominate the set piece in the second half. A penalty set up an attack deep in US territory. After a knock by the Eagles, Ireland pushed a scrum over the try line and number 8 Jack Conan touched it down to extend the lead to 36-7.
It was Déjà Vu for the Irish, however, as John Quill charged down a clearance kick right after the ensuing kickoff. The flanker grabbed it and dove over to stem the momentum. With the conversion, the Eagles trailed 36-14.
The United States went into its best run of the game and the hard work came to fruition. After getting a penalty during a scrum, MacGinty put the United States within five-meters. After a myriad of phases the ball went wide right and Ryan Matyas managed to squeak over the line to cut the lead 36-19.
The Irish made their way back into the Eagles territory on the ensuing kickoff. The visitors controlled the ball but several tremendous goal line stands resulted in turnovers and the Eagles kept them at bay. However, Earls, like he did so many times in the first half, found a seam and offloaded to James Ryan for a score under the posts. The kick went off the upright, though, and the Irish led 41-19 with 18 minutes to play.
Ireland added two scores late to cap off the convincing victory 55-19.