Two Test IRS returns in 2017
Wednesday, November 23 2016 @ 01:50 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
It has been agreed that Australia will host Ireland in a two-test Virgin Australia International Rules Series to be played in Australia in November next year.
The return to a two-match series in 2017, to be played over the weekends of November 11 and 18 at venues still to be confirmed, comes on the back of successful one-off Virgin Australia Tests in Perth in 2014 and Dublin last year that reinvigorated the series.
The GAA and the AFL have also agreed in principle to play a two-Test series back in Ireland in 2019.
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail said: "We are pleased to confirm the re-instatement of a two-game series commencing next year in Australia when Joe Kernan will bring the Irish team down under.
"We believe the two-game series is a logical development after the success of the last two single games series, given the distances involved and the potential to generate even more momentum around the games.
"We look forward to renewing rivalries with the best the AFL has to offer and we acknowledge the progress made in recent months with our AFL counterparts in helping to confirm the plans for 2017."
AFL General Manager Football Operations Mark Evans said it was the AFL’s view that the commitment to field a team comprised only of All-Australian players, under the leadership of the best coaches in the AFL, had been crucial to the agreement to extend the series again, as Australia had to match Ireland’s commitment to fielding its best players.
“The one-off Virgin Australia Test matches in Perth and Dublin over the last two years were two high-class encounters played in front of very strong crowds. Australian and Irish fans have shown they want to see a spectacular and competitive contest played between the most talented AFL players and Ireland’s best Gaelic footballers,” Mr Evans said.
“Restricting selection to only a player who has earned All Australian selection through his AFL career has ensured the prestige of playing in the Virgin Australia International Rules Series and we look forward to hosting the Irish side again next year.”
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