Saturday 21 September 2019

Heat is on for Ireland but Kernan insists they can cope in Adelaide

Ireland manager Joe Kernan during International Rules squad training in Melbourne. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Ireland manager Joe Kernan during International Rules squad training in Melbourne. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Intense heat could be one of the biggest problems for Ireland in next Sunday's first International Rules game against Australia in Adelaide.

Temperatures are expected to soar towards the mid-thirties over the weekend, presenting the Irish players with conditions to which they are not accustomed.

"It will be a big challenge to adapt to that heat but our boys will cope. They are in very good shape. Tell them they can't do something and they'll do it. That's just the nature of Gaelic players - it's an instinct," said Ireland manager Joe Kernan.

The Irish squad had their first training session in a cool Melbourne yesterday but will face different conditions when they fly to Adelaide tomorrow.

Kernan, who together with Pádraic Joyce, Darragh ó Sé and Dermot Earley, is in charge of the Irish team for a second time believes the experience gained when beating Australia in a one-off game in Croke Park two years ago will be invaluable.

balance "The balance in our squad is very good. That's something we set out to achieve from the start.

"We're strong in defence and our forwards certainly aren't lacking anything. We've added more pace, the likes of Niall Sludden, Karl O'Connell and Shane Walsh.

"Walsh is one of those lads that can do more in ten minutes than others could in 60 minutes. Kevin Feely (Kildare midfielder) has been showing up very well too.

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"His fielding is fantastic. I'd like to think that we're well covered everywhere. We have pace and power all over the place," said Kernan.

He has no fears that Australia will be physically too strong for Ireland or that they will step outside legal limits in their bid to gain an advantage.

"You can be physical in one way or dirty in another and, in fairness, I think they've gone from that. They play good football now and I think they know that's the way forward for the game. Two years ago, we put up a good show of attacking football and got the supporters on the edge of their seats. That's what we're expecting again," said Kernan.

Australia have picked a strong, mobile squad, which Kernan expects will attack from a variety of angles.

"They seem to be learning from us in that aspect of the game. You never know what they will bring to the table. Whatever it is, we need to be ready for it.

"We've worked very hard in recent weeks and have a few more days to fine-tune our plans. We know exactly what we want to do and I'm happy that we have the players to do it. Their attitude has been fantastic," said Kernan.

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