Kernan to rely on accurate kicking and pace in 'Rules' international
Published 10/09/2015 | 02:30
Joe Kernan intends to put the foot back into football in a real sense for the Ireland v Australia International Rules Test in Croke Park on November 21.
Formal preparations began last weekend when Kernan, who has taken over from Paul Earley as Ireland's team manager, oversaw a two-day get together in Ashbourne.
"It's very early stages and a lot of players we want to be involved are still in the race for the All-Ireland or are only just out of it so we have to wait on them.
"Some lads have injuries too, the club scene is very busy and obviously it will be some weeks before we get players from Dublin and Kerry so we're feeling our way at present, although we have done a lot of work behind the scenes.
"Now that we're up and running with the preparations, it will be easy to integrate players into them as they become available," said Kernan.
The training sessions will continue in Ashbourne for the next month, prior to moving to Castleknock and later to Carton House for the final tune-up prior to the game.
Together with his selectors, Pádraic Joyce (Galway), Darragh ó Sé (Kerry) and Dermot Earley (Kildare), Kernan is working on the style of play that Ireland will adopt for the one-off Test.
It comes after the disappointing experience in Perth last November when Ireland lost to Australia by ten points, having trailed by 28 points at half-time. Ireland rallied strongly in the second half but had left themselves with too much to do
"We'll be going with a specific game-plan to stretch the Australians. They like it if you take the ball into contact, so we'll be working on moving it quickly and kicking accurately.
"Our lads will enjoy it - they''ll certainly get plenty opportunities to kick the ball, which doesn't happen as much now in Gaelic football as it used to.
"We still have some great kickers in our game and we'll use that as much as we can. We'll also be trying to do it all with real pace," said Kernan.
Among those who will again commit to Ireland is Seán Cavanagh (32), who will be seeking his 14th international cap, having made his debut in 2004.
The Australians are expected to bring their strongest available squad, similar to last year when they selected the GAA equivalent of All Stars.
It was in marked contrast to 2013 when Australia sent an indigenous team to Ireland, which was easily overpowered on a 173-72 aggregate over two games in Cavan and Croke Park.