Friday 15 December 2017

Eugene McGee: Irish getting up to speed in International Rules

Aussie Rules sides unable to keep up with evolving nature of Gaelic football

Ireland's players watch their Australian opponents perform their pre-match 'War Cry' in Cavan before the start of the first half of the opening International Rules test
Ireland's players watch their Australian opponents perform their pre-match 'War Cry' in Cavan before the start of the first half of the opening International Rules test
Eugene McGee

Eugene McGee

It is hard to understand why the Australian team that arrived to play Ireland in Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday night should be the poorest we have seen since the series started nearly 30 years ago.

When the AFL decided to confine their panel this year to indigenous players (as opposed to picking from all players operating in the AFL), it was believed this particular team would be a group of players that was highly motivated to represent their country. This was thought to be so because an indigenous team has never been assembled – in any sport – in that sports-mad country.

But from the word go, this did not seem to be the case and a highly impressive Irish team coasted through the game without even having to work up a sweat. Indeed players like Michael Murphy – who had to play a county final today – did not have to worry about being tired or exhausted.

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