REIGNING International Cup champions Ireland have survived a scare from Nauru, winning by 27 points in Bendigo on Saturday.
Ireland, led by its captain David Finn, kicked clear of the Chiefs in the final quarter to win its third straight pool match and progress to the semi-finals.
The final score was Ireland 10.6 (66) to Nauru 6.3 (39).
The game was played at the Queen Elizabeth Oval, it followed the Bendigo Football Netball League senior’s game between South Bendigo and Castlemaine.
Nauru drew within three points at three quarter time, poised to steel victory from the two-time International Cup winners, but couldn’t match it with them in the final quarter.
Ireland kicked four goals in the last term and kept Nauru to just one behind.
Warriors ruckman Padraig Lucey was among the best on the ground for Ireland, kicking five goals for the match.
Lucey, who has played in the European Legion for the past two seasons, is currently featured on Fox8 show The Recruit.
Playing coach David Stynes, along with Declan Healy and Padraig Fanning were also named among the best for Ireland.
For Nauru, Moses Bonatello and Oppenheimer Kenneth each kicked two goals for the match.
AFL Development officer for the Pacific region Ben Drew said it was good to see Nauru take it up to one of the best teams in the competition.
“They are a much improved team,” he said of Nauru.
“It was good to see them stick it up to them.”
Ireland will now play South Africa in the semi-final on Tuesday, with a grand final spot up for grabs, while Nauru will take on Great Britain.