'I was a little disappointed there was no Dublin representative' - Ciaran Whelan on International Rules
Former Dublin midfielder Ciaran Whelan has said that he was disappointed that there was no Dublin representative on the Irish International Rules team following Australia's 53-50 win in the second Test in Perth.
Needing to overturn a ten-point deficit after the first test in Adelaide last Sunday, Ireland gave themselves every chance when they led 30-17 at half-time, but Australia settled into an impressive routine in the second half, gradually wearing down the visitors to ultimately rally in the second-half and reclaim the Cormac McAnellan Cup.
Whelan said that he was disappointed that no Dublin players made themselves available for the tour but that he understands some players not being able to play due to other commitments.
“I was a little disappointed that there was no Dublin representative," said Whelan on RTE Sport's post-match coverage.
"I can see the logic. It doesn’t suit some players and the large majority that play this game would be fans of it.
"We're at a stage where there are huge demands on our current inter-county players in terms of commitment throughout the year that when teams progress and are involved for the full length of the championship sometimes there are other commitments that come in the way.
"There would have been fellas on the Dublin team that have not played this game and I think it is a huge opportunity to represent and I actually think it is a huge honour.
"I have to say I was surprised there wasn’t a little more appetite from the Dublin players to travel out there."
Fellow pundit Sean Cavanagh, who was initially slated to play, said that there were Dublin players in the International Rules Series Whatsapp group but that they couldn't attend due to other commitments, which included work and club games.
"I was part of the initial panel that was to go to Australia and to play and I was part of the WhatsApp group obviously," said Cavanagh.
"The Dublin players were there and they were posting into the WhatsApp that they couldn’t make the training on Friday night or they couldn’t make the training on Saturday morning."
Ireland International Rules manager Joe Kernan said that he doesn't believe that there was any policy to keep Dublin players from taking part in this year's International Rules series in Australia but that most players could not get the necessary time off to commit to the series due to work commitments or pre-planned holidays.
"I actually spoke to a number of Dublin players earlier in the week and they have holiday plans and work commitments," Kernan told Newstalk Breakfast last month.
"All those Dublin players, people have got to understand the sacrifices they've made over the past three years. Unfortunately this time year, club football takes over, especially for successful counties like Mayo and Dublin.
"We trained five Friday nights in a row and they have club matches on Saturdays. We had to work with the players we had. "Some of the players who could make it couldn't go because they had work commitments given their sacrifices over the year. They couldn't get time off work.
"Some of them were very disappointed. They'd loved to have gone but it just wasn't possible. At this time of year the club comes first."
Dublin midfielder Brian Fenton was invited to partake in the series but he couldn't commit after starting a new job.
“I recently took up a new job and I felt that I couldn't take three weeks off work," said Fenton.
"It was a great honour to be asked to represent Ireland but I just couldn't respond, this time. I hope I get the offer again.
“Some of the other players have championship matches – some hurling and some football. I also have a league promotion match this weekend with my club."