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Canavan predicts bruising Rules clashes

WITH Anthony Tohill preparing to name his International Rules squad tomorrow, Peter Canavan has disputed talk that the series has become too sanitised.

The Tyrone legend is familiar with the physical aspect of the hybrid game, having picked up a Rules suspension during his career after repeated clashes with Jason Akermanis, and he's convinced that supporters in Limerick and Croke Park later this month can expect "intense" displays.

"Some people felt they were too sanitised last time, but we should just wait until after these two Tests because I can't see that happening again," Canavan said.

"As a nation, the Australians are a very confident people, some would say arrogant. They'll not want to come over and have amateur players beat them at a game they see themselves as being superior at."

Ireland won the last series in 2008 and while relations have improved recently, Akermanis was busy opening up old wounds. The former Brownlow medal winner was engaged in an infamous running battle with Canavan over four Tests in 1999 and 2000 and recalled this week that Canavan punched him and "ran away like a big girl up the park."

This latest outburst from the outspoken Akermanis comes as no surprise. He was sacked by his last AFL club, while he also penned a newspaper article suggesting gay AFL players should not come out.

"It must have been a different incident to what I remember," Canavan laughed at yesterday's launch of 'Voices from Croke Park', a collection of 12 essays charting the lives of some of the GAA's biggest stars.

"I think the video evidence might show that didn't happen. He must have got a bang on the head because his memory is not great."

And Canavan warned that Ireland need to play to their strengths in order to retain the Cormac McAnallen trophy. "I think there is a feeling among some of them that because they are full-time athletes and they are professional, they should be physically superior and that the Irish shouldn't put it up to them.

"And when the Irish do -- in some cases they went head-to-head with them -- they don't like it.

"There is a lot of talk about no compromise and the physical nature of the game, but it would still be in the Irish interests to go out and play football. It is not in the Irish interests to take them on at a physical game because there will probably only be one winner.

"But in terms of skill, pace and intelligence on the ball, I would like to think that's where our strengths lie."

Canavan, currently in charge of his home club Errigal Ciaran, also distanced himself from a move to inter-county management in the immediate future after being linked to a number of posts this year.

"There have been a few approaches here and there, but I have no interest really. I'm managing my own club at the minute and that's all I'm focused on. I've enough on my plate.

"I haven't really thought about it. To manage anyone outside of my own club doesn't do much for me and that's why I haven't given it any serious thought yet."

Irish Independent