Although the 48-2 scoreline does flatter Ireland, the heart and excitement shown by Jamaica and their fans cannot be underestimated.
With NRL star Luke Keary playing a key role, it was a comfortable win for the Wolfhounds as their campaign gets off to a perfect start.
The scoreline could have been even more had Ireland capitalised on other opportunities and if their goal-kicking was more accurate.
Ireland’s first try came off a basic scrum play and with the numbers out wide, Hull KR winger Louis Senior finished the play off.
Captain George King then stepped up when needed, bulldozing his way over defenders to score, as momentum carried him over the line.
Brendan O’Hagan, who started at hooker in a late shift, scored Ireland’s third try. He spotted a gap, put on the afterburners and scored.
Ed Chamberlain was the fourth Irish player to score, with some tremendous lead-up work from Keary getting him over the line easily.
The Jamaican crowd then went mad as Kieran Rush slotted a penalty goal to give Jamaica their first points in a World Cup.
At 18-2, the Jamaicans had done well to hold on but it would once again be one-way traffic in Ireland’s favour.
The Irish side, boasting two sets of brothers (the Senior brothers and the King brothers), would have a third score a try.
That came via Innes Senior as he crossed over simply on the back of a lovely cut-out pass from Richie Myler for the opening points of the second half.
Toby King was the next try-scorer and his try was perhaps Ireland’s best of the game.
Side-to-side action, numerous tough offloads, and the ball eventually ended up with Harry Rushton who grubbered ahead and King was quickest to the ball.
Louis Senior then scored a second on the back of Chamberlain’s ability to evade a tackle, and he had no one in front of him to simply plant the ball down.
James McDonnell was the next scorer and he just put his head down, evaded some tacklers and planted the ball down.
James Bentley got his name on the scoreboard as he drifted from left to right, dummying several times, before spotting a gap and slicing through to score.
Ireland’s final try came via Frankie Halton as he ran a nice line off a pass from Joe Keyes and had just enough speed to score.
For Jamaica, although the loss was heavy, their aim has already been a long-term one, hoping to use this tournament as a catalyst for their 2025 campaign.
Jamaican coach Jermaine Coleman said that the experience alone has been amazing for he and his side, knowing that previously, they had to pay from their own pocket just to make tournaments.
“From a coaching perspective, it’s an amazing achievement, it has been a lot of hard work over a lot of years,” Coleman said.
“There has been lots of times we’ve had to pay our own way to get to competitions so to be here and to experience a World Cup is a massive achievement for us.”
Putting in a man-of-the-match performance, Keary said that wearing the Irish jersey meant a lot to him and it is something he will always treasure.
“All the way back to being a kid, heritage has been a big part of my family,” Keary said.
“Me and my brothers, Dad’s always passed it down. Something we’ve always been proud of. To realise that dream tonight is pretty special.”
Ireland: 48 (L. Senior 2, G. King, O’Hagan, Chamberlain, T. King, I. Senior, McDonnell, Bentley, Halton; G: Chamberlain 1, Keyes 3) def. Jamaica: 2 (G: Rush 1).
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Luke Keary (IRE)
2. Brendan O’Hagan (IRE)
1. Joe Keyes (IRE)