It's been a rocky road for Denmark's national team over the past five years - from an international glamour side to a surprise withdrawal from the International Cup. A new coach is on the case and a new era beckons.
Irishman Colm Begley was today elevated from the Brisbane Lions rookie list to its senior list. Brisbane has suffered a large number of injuries this season, and the injury to Justin Leppitsch and his subsequent retirement has created a vacancy on the senior list. Begley, who was recruited from Gaelic football, only came to Australian Rules football in December. He has quickly adapted to the game, given a start in the Lions team in the NAB cup preseason competition where he did not look out of place.
We also briefly review the other Irishmen of the AFL, and Englishman Brad Moran.
This year's Catalan Aussie Rules season kicks off on Saturday June 24 with Belfry Valls taking on new side the Barcelona Stars in Valls for the Mobles Pinky Trophy. Four sides will compete for the LFAC championship this year - representing the cities of Valls, Tarragona, Lleida and Barcelona - with the special match between Brazil and Catalonia planned for August.
Saturday the first of July will also see Belfry Valls visit Perpignan to take on the St Esteve Saints, who will also receive a visit from the Madrid Bears on the weekend of July 29-30.
Footy in Stockholm is now three years old, with the organisation now working on adding a solid juniors foundation to its operations. The league had a few early setbacks this year - the new team in Linkoeping failed to form, then discussions for the Dynamite to join the SAFL's Regional Premiership were knocked back at the Scanian end due to the southerners not wanting to add the extra travel committments. Despite this, Stockholm have continued on, adding a three-match tour series against the new Helsinki-based footy scene and working hard to bring Aussie Rules to Stockholm schools.
This report courtesy of Stockholm's Damian Waldron and Ben Kirk.
The Croatian footy team arrived in Vienna on Saturday June 10th, happy to be able to play its first game ever. The team was participating in the Schnitzel Cup, alongside the Czech Lions and hosts Austria (the Vienna Kangaroos - recently rechristened from the Vienna Dingos) in the first tournament of their fledgling tri-nations series. As the Austrian and Czech squads had a few years' experience in playing footy, Croatia came in as underdogs, but won both their matches to run out champions of the day.
The BBC UK Northern Ireland site reported this week that Martin Clarke will have a five week trial with an unnamed AFL club this July. We earlier reported that an Irish newspaper reported he had been offered a contract by the Brisbane Lions, but a further report in the Irish newssite Unison.ie (registration required) reveals that Collingwood are bringing him out to Australia in a few weeks.
Catalan Aussie Rules founder Pere (Pedro) Moliner recently spoke with World Footy News about where footy in Europe currently stands and where it could go in future. Moliner echoes some of the views already seen in Europe, including the example of the Farum Cats in Denmark, where years of work at junior level is now translating into a senior side of young, but highly experienced, Danish players who make life very tough for other DAFL sides.
A preview of the 2006 Catalan footy season will appear shortly - in the meantime Moliner's full reflection on European footy follows.
Carlton's Irish recruits, the O'hAilpin brothers, are continuing their development with the Northern Bullants in the Victoria Football League. The younger of the two, Aisake, has recently been in excellent form in the Bullants' reserve grade, twice named best player for his side. However he has now experienced another aspect of the game that he wouldn't be quite so keen to learn about - a visit to the tribunal charged with striking.
2006 will see Sweden and Germany in a tri-series against Denmark for the first time. This year's Swedish national side will be the first to be composed fully of Swedes - and the German national side will be the first official side drawn from teams across the nation to ever take the field. The series will kick-off with Denmark facing Germany in Bielefeld in June.
It was reported that the AFL will change the regulations after the 2006 AFL draft with respect to the age of recruits from Ireland to appease the fears of the GAA that their game will be stripped of some of their best young talent. Another young Irish talent Martin Clarke is the latest name to be linked with an AFL club.