Saturday 7 December 2019

International Rules future secure as Australia heading for Croke Park

Australia goalkeeper Dustin Fletcher is pushed by Ireland's Sean Cavanagh
Australia goalkeeper Dustin Fletcher is pushed by Ireland's Sean Cavanagh
Sean Cavanagh moves to win possession for Ireland
Pearse Hanley, Ireland, is tackled by Jobe Watson, Australia
Pearse Hanley, Ireland, kicks 3 points despite the best efforts of Grant Birchall, Australia

Martin Breheny in Perth

Doubts about the future of the International Rules game have been dispelled following talks between the GAA and the AFL.

And, in a move that could lead to the resumption of the series on an annual basis, Australia will travel to Ireland next year. Similar to 2007-09-12, next year was to have been a gap year in the series but there’s now an agreement in principle that the Australians will travel to Ireland next November.

Pearse Hanley, Ireland, is tackled by Jobe Watson, Australia
Pearse Hanley, Ireland, is tackled by Jobe Watson, Australia

It follows the success of last Saturday’s test in Perth where a near full-house crowd of 38,262 turned out for the game in Patersons Stadium, Perth. A huge Irish contingent attended and while they were disappointed to see Australia win by ten points (56-46), it was a great occasion.

“It meant so much to so many Irish people. The game was excellent - sporting, hard and fair.  We needed a good game and we got that. It put International Rules back on track, which was clearly needed. It’s easier to go back to Central Council now and make a case (for the series to continue),” said Paraic Duffy, GAA Director-General.

Australia are keen to take the series to the US - possible Boston or New York - but that’s unlikely to happen for some time, although Duffy did not rule it out completely.

“When you see the turnout of Irish people here (Perth) - you could replicate it in a place like Boston. I wouldn’t close the door on it but let’s get a series next year - whether one or two games - and then look at the bigger picture,” he said.

Pearse Hanley, Ireland, kicks 3 points despite the best efforts of Grant Birchall, Australia
Pearse Hanley, Ireland, kicks 3 points despite the best efforts of Grant Birchall, Australia

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