Playing in a pool against two countries who are regulars at Rugby World Cups was always a tough ask, and Ireland displayed their quality early on in the 41-5 win.
Ranked second in the world at rugby, Irishman James Leo O’Brien crossed early after three minutes of play, with Ian Fitzpatrick and Mark Roche crossing in quick succession.
Terry Kennedy scored on either side of half time, and O’Brien and Fitzpatrick both added another with time expiring.
Junior Kiria was able to dot down off the subs bench, scoring the first points of the tournament for the Cook Islanders.
The next match unfortunately went in a similar fashion for the Manatoa.
Able to hold Uruguay at bay for the first seven minutes, down only 14-0, until the floodgates opened in the second to go down 38-0.
Their final match of the day was against Jamaica, which went right down to the wire, with the win going to the Caribbean island nation, 21-19.
Junior Napara got the Manatoa on the board with an early five pointer, although the conversion went astray.
Jamaica’s Omar Dixon crossed a minute later, before Samuelu Leuta responded in kind, and promptly added a two-pointer.
Dyneal Fessel scored after the break to take the Jamaicans up 14-12, but a Teu Paerau touchdown, converted by Napara, gave the advantage back to the Kukis.
With two minutes to go in the match, Joshua Christie scored a converted try, leaving the Cook Islands down two points.
Late in the match, Jamaica were driving deep into the Cook Islands territory, and looked like they were going to seal the result with a late try.
However, an error in front of the try line left the Manatoa with a last gasp chance to win, albeit needing to cover 95 metres to score.
Playing a bit of razzle-dazzle, James Kora eventually made a break, galloping into open space.
As he was about to be run down, he got off a smart, accurate pass that was dropped by his oncoming teammate, ending the match.