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AFL's Irish recruitment rules under threat?

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In recent articles on the relationship between the AFL (Australia) and GAA (Ireland) regarding International Rules and the so-called "poaching" of young Gaelic football players from Ireland, we've suggested that the one piece of leverage the GAA has to restrict the flow of players has been the International Rules series. As the AFL is keen to maintain it, they've been prepared to at least put an age limit on the recruitment of young Irishmen to AFL clubs via the draft or international rookie list. Whereas young potential recruits from outside of Australia can be added to a club's international rookie list from 15 years old, for Ireland the minimum is 18, and full entry to the AFL at 19.

The AFL and GAA are set to meet in Melbourne in October, and if the International Rules ban is extended there are suggestions that the age restrictions put in place to satisfy the GAA could be removed - this would most likely result in an even greater level of poaching and reduce AFL-GAA relations to a new low. It seems the relationship between the two sporting bodies is more finely balanced than ever before - will the GAA be conciliatory to restore the IR series and maintain its leverage with the AFL, or will they maintain a hardline stance and risk an escalation of the player drain?

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AFL's Irish recruitment rules under threat? | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
AFL's Irish recruitment rules under threat?
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Monday, August 06 2007 @ 04:31 pm ACST

The GAA at very least has a choice. Lose talented juniors to the scourge of English sport - and they will never see them coming back from soccer to represent the GAA - or - kids 'lost' to the AFL are A. more likely to continue to represent the GAA if the Int Rules games continue and B. are more likely to return to the GAA should they not succeed - whereas the wide, wide world of soccer has minor leagues the world over ready to swallow such players never to be seen again.

So - the AFL - lesser of 2 evils.

AFL's Irish recruitment rules under threat?
Authored by: Ash Nugent on Monday, August 06 2007 @ 05:28 pm ACST

If the tables were turned and AFL players were being poached I would much prefer to see them being nabbed by Gaelic football or Rugby League/Union which I see as more similar to footy than soccer. Does the GAA think differently or do they consider themselves as being able to overpower the AFL (a little rich considering that they won't go pro)? They should embrace Australian football's Irish influence.

AFL's Irish recruitment rules under threat?
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, August 06 2007 @ 06:33 pm ACST

I do feel sorry for the GAA - the sports are such an important part of their cultural fabric and it seems inevitable that one way or another they'll be forced to change to a professional system at the top level if they want to keep players. That will have ramifications all the one down to the smallest towns. But on the flipside, many Irish do point out that soccer and Rugby still take far more players than Aussie Rules.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

AFL's Irish recruitment rules under threat?
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Tuesday, August 07 2007 @ 09:05 pm ACST
Article from Sean Rice in the Mayo news tells the hurt of losing such a talent from his county http://www.mayonews.ie/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2122&Itemid=39
Interesting that he thinks the end of the IR series might stop the Aussie's easy access to young talent. In todays world I don't think that would be enough.
AFL's Irish recruitment rules under threat?
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Tuesday, August 07 2007 @ 10:23 pm ACST

Additionally the Mayo News site has a poll currently running 52% Yes to 48% No as to whether Hanley should go to Brisbane.