VAFA return to Ireland for 2017 tour
Wednesday, October 11 2017 @ 01:15 PM ACDT
Contributed by: Frederick Shaibani
A collection of young amateur footballers from Melbourne are getting a chance to take footy to the Emerald Isle.
A representative squad comprised of youngsters from the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) is currently touring Ireland and will be competing against Gaelic footballers from the Donaghmore Ashbourne GAA in an international rules test match this Friday, October 13th. These two teams have participated against each other in international rules matches before, with both sides earning victories.
In addition to this fun and challenging opportunity, the VAFA boys have also had chances to teach the finer points of footy to the locals, starting with Christian Brothers College in Cork. They’ve even linked up with the UCC Bombers, an Aussie rules team in Cork that competes in the nationwide competition, the Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI).
“It is invigorating to see the passion and enthusiasm for our sport -- something that back home we take for granted as a part of our weekly and yearly routine,” said VAFA umpire Haydn O’Connor, who has been journaling his thoughts on the VAFA’s website as the Ireland tour rolls on.
The first game of the tour featured the VAFA side against Bishoptown, with the visiting Aussies winning easily. However, slippery conditions slowed them down in the next match in Lough Rea against the Tuam Stars, and the VAFA boys lost narrowly despite attempting a comeback late in the third period.
With only a couple days of rest between each match, it has certainly been a challenge for the visiting Aussies to prep for a new opponent and a new city each time, but it’s safe to say that the tour continues to be a rewarding experience for all involved. The VAFA is off to Dublin next, and they’re certainly excited to bring the great Aussie game to a broader audience in the historical Irish capital.