Contributed by: Peter Parry
As described by the Irish national broadcaster, RTE, this year's under-17 series has been a "super advertisement for International Rules football" with the Irish and Australian lads fighting out two draws in 4 days. Ireland's ability to find the net has kept them in it despite Australia's greater number of "overs". But in other less positive news Brisbane's Irish recruit has begun to feel the pull of home, and the seniors International Rules series looks like being scaled back.
The first Test was at Telstra Dome, Melbourne as the curtain-raiser to Brisbane v St Kilda on Thursday 13th April, when Ireland came from a 13 point 3/4 time deficit to kick two 6 point goals and 2 overs before Australia managed to level the scores and then Aussie Jarad Grant brought down Ireland's Denis McGoldrick with a match saving tackle. Australian player Ryan Normington then had an after-the-siren shot to break the deadlock, but under the enormous pressure of the situation and with a foreign shaped ball to contend with, missed everything to leave the scores tied.
The second Test was a curtain-raiser to the Port Adelaide v Fremantle match at Adelaide's AAMI stadium on Sunday 16th April and Ireland managed a 6 point goal and single point in the dying minutes to erase a 7 point deficit for yet another draw.
In words that may make a few GAA conservatives opposed to the hybrid game rethink their views, RTE reports on the second Test:
"It was a super advertisement for International Rules football with outstanding tackling, dodging and courage, and neither side willing to give an inch."
The third Test will be played at Fremantle Oval on 19th April.
1st Test: Australia 0.11.6 (39) drew Ireland 2.7.6 (39)
2nd Test: Australia 1.6.11 (35) drew Ireland 3.4.5 (35)
The series was previewed on the AFL website and the GAA's.
Meanwhile, Brisbane Lions Irish recruit, Colm Begley, speaks of battling homesickness whilst still focussed on a successful AFL career in this story in the Queensland daily newspaper, the Courier Mail. Compatriot Brendan Quigley who returned to county Laois in Ireland has won under-21 silverware in Laois' successful Gaelic football campaign back home. But Begley is hopeful of tasting similar success in Australia with the Lions and was rated in the best players for the Suncoast Lions in the Queensland state AFL league on the weekend.
On the note of young Irish recruits, there were further debates during GAA-AFL meetings coinciding with the current Irish under-17 tour. GAA senior official, Pat Daly suggested age 20 may be a "satisfactory compromise" as a minimum age for Irish recruits to the AFL, between risk of homesickness and disruption to education on the one hand and leaving things too late to adapt to the differing demands of Australian rules football on the other hand. The debate is further elaborated on in The Age.
The same story also reports the likelihood that the senior series will go to a biennial event after this year's series in Ireland. The first Test will be at Pearse Stadium, Galway on the weekend of 28/29 October and the second in Croke Park on the weekend on 4/5 November. These dates also coincide somewhat with the inaugural Women's International Rules series.
World Footy News