International Rules comes to Orange County California

Saturday, December 10 2005 @ 03:46 am ACDT

Contributed by: Peter Parry

With games now having been played in over 25 cities across Ireland, Australia, England, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Canada and the USA - it seems International Rules has come late to the place which tries everything - California.

The following report is from Chris "Macca" McNeil of the Orange County Bombers Australian football club. An Aussie Rules outfit (wearing the St Kilda tricolour) took on the local Los Angeles Gaelic football club the Wild Geese - in the annual Orange County "Turkey Bowl" for American Thanksgiving weekend.

As usual at the fully amateur level, the biffo seen sometimes in the elite level series was nowhere in sight and the game was received as a lot of fun on both sides. Like in other places it is planned for an annual event. Also as has happened elsewhere there's talk of player exchanges/augmentations to the Gaelic and Aussie rules teams in next year's respective codes' seasons. Already one of the best players for the Wild Geese is an OC Bombers recruit.

Macca's report follows:

Sunday November 27 saw the OC Bombers host the 6th annual Turkey Bowl match, a friendly pick up game held every year around the Thanksgiving weekend. This year there was a major difference however, with the local Gaelic Football team, the LA Wild Geese, coming down to play an International Rules match against an all-comers side made up of some Bombers, some former LA Crows and even a few San Diego Lions.

As usual, the day was well attended with both teams fielding full sides and an overflowing bench. There was more than enough action for everyone though, with the game played as 4 x 20 min quarters, and all players a bit out of shape and freshly stuffed with turkey, there was plenty of game time to go around.

The team of Aussie Rules players found the round ball a little hard to master, unlike the Irish boys who were able to control it a lot better. Aside from this difference however, the game was very similar to a fast game of footy, and the Geese moved the ball well with lot's of hard running and sharp passing by hand and foot. New Bombers recruit, Mark O'Shea, was dominant for the LA team and set the tone in the opening minutes when the Irish lads showed us how it was done. Shell-shocked, the Aussie Rules team settled and started to get some possesion, but the innacuracy of shots on goal were telling. By the end of the quarter, the Geese had scored 3 goals (in the net-6 points) 4 overs (3 points) and 2 behinds (1 point). The all-comers meanwhile were 4 overs and 2 behinds. The 2nd quarter started as the first, with the Wild Geese dominating with their superior use of the ball, and better skills. The Aussie Rules players however adapted pretty well and made a good game of it, but never really challenged for the lead. Some stand out players were Corey Irwin, who was outstanding in the first half, as well as perennial competitor Donnie Lucero who worked hard as always. Janni (the Doc) Mirosevic also got plenty of the ball, but couldn't hit a barn door from 5 paces with the round ball and so didn't get the scores his efforts warranted.

At games end, the Wild Geese had scored 12 goals in the net to the Aussie Rules boys zero, a telling factor. The Irish lads knew how to find the back of the net while the other team tried desperately to do likewise to no avail, when perhaps they should have concentrated on ticking over the scoreboard with more overs instead. Nevertheless, it was a great experience for all involved, and all players enjoyed the match.

Final Scores:

A pretty big win to the Irish boys, but with plans to hold this event annually, the Aussie Rules players will be looking to make a big improvement next year. Both clubs extended open invitations for players to try out each others games next season, and it is hoped we can work together to supply each other with potential recruits, training ideas and general assistance to further both sports in the region. Some of the Irish players are natural athletes that would excell at Aussie Rules, hopefully they will give it a shot in '06.

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