Contributed by: Peter ParryThe Irish squad for the International Rules controversially includes both O'hAilpin brothers - Setanta who is currently on Carlton's list in the AFL, but also big brother Sean Og.
There was no real controversy in the Emerald Island with the selection of young Setanta, who has easily transferred from being the winner of the GAA equivalent of the Norwich Rising Star for Hurling in 2003, to an impressive Aussie Rules footballer. The AFL's progress is keenly followed on Irish channel TG4 during the season. Only a stress fracture in his foot kept Setanta from a fast track senior AFL debut.
However Sean Og, which means junior after his father Sean, unlike Setanta has not played competitive football at a senior level of either the Gaelic or Aussie Footy sort for 4 years. The big strongly built elder O'hAilpin is known for his dominance for Cork in Hurling, culminating in the county's victory in this year's All-Ireland Hurling final. Dissent has been expressed by the manager of county Armagh (2002 All Ireland football champions) Joe Kernan, who has seen high profile footballers from his strong football county bypassed by the big hurler. See this story at the Hogan Stand website for further details.
The controversy evinces the passion that is growing in the IR series with big crowds certain for what will be the fully renovated 82,300 capacity historic Croke Park, in Dublin. Tickets now on sale at the GAA website.
The Hogan Stand story also notes the practice game between the Irish IR squad and a Dublin based Aussie Rules club. This club in fact is the Irish national Aussie Rules squad, who last year provided Ireland with some warm up games (see story) and obviously were good enough to be given the job again this year.
World Footy News