Ireland take U-17 IR series 2-1

Sunday, April 10 2005 @ 01:53 am ACST

Contributed by: Peter Parry

With the senior International Rules series scheduled for Australia this year, the annual under 17 series was played over the past fortnight in Ireland. The Irish lads won the Peter McDermott Cup with a 2 Tests to 1 result.

International Rules is a hybrid of Australian and Gaelic football. The first Test went to a speedy, skillful Ireland with a highly convincing 73-32 win in Crossmaglen, county Armagh in Ulster. The Aussie lads bounced back to win the second 56-44 in Dublin with both teams finding the net in a spree of 6-pointers. This set up a hard fought deciding test in Killarney in picturesque but unseasonably freezing county Kerry, home of the All-Ireland Football champions. The scores were almost level throughout with a goal to Ireland in the dying moments sealing their victory 39-31.

Young Aussie captain Joel Selwood, younger brother of AFL twins Adam and Troy, was jointly awarded the Ron Barassi Medal for best player in the series along with Ireland's Ray Cullivan.

International Rules (see previous stories) is not just confined to the AFL and GAA senior teams but played at lower levels too around the world. The under-17 series has been a part of the game on and off since 1981 (see International Rules - a surprisingly long history). Though the hybrid code is still derided by some, clearly it is passionately embraced by young elite footballers from both Aussie Rules and Gaelic football as an opportunity to play their hearts out for their country and the experience of touring as a team is likely to provide memories to last a lifetime.

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