According to Marc McGowan at the www.afl.com.au website, the next Irish jet might be one David Clifford – a player who is turning heads in both Gaelic and AFL circles. But whether or not he considers trying Australian Football as a career option is up in the air.
IRELAND'S potential next great AFL export will perform in front of 80,000-plus fans on one of Gaelic football's biggest stages on Sunday.
Kerry's David Clifford, considered the Irish game's brightest talent in many years, will lead his county into battle against Derry as it chases an historic fourth-straight All-Ireland minor football championship.
The 18-year-old was at the heart of a war of words in May between former Gaelic star-turned-Sydney premiership defender Tadgh Kennelly and Kerry legend Tomàs Ó Sé.
Russian and Finnish football have added a new competition to their respective football calendars with the development of the Baltic Cup – this year played in St. Petersburg. The tournament featured teams from the Russian city playing against the Helsinki Heatseekers club representing Finland.
In a four-team draw, the St. Petersburg club fielded their Russian champions, the Cats, as well as a second team – the Northern Tigers which are a local club playing as part of the local St. Petersburg competition. They also added some played to the Leaders Rugby Club for a fourth team as did the Heatseekers. The tournament was played as a nine per side competition.
The Helsinki Heatseekers, fresh from having defeated the Vaasa Wombats to take the Finnish (FAFL) premiership two weeks ago, made the journey to the Russian city for the event. The St. Petersburg Cats also won the Russian Championship for 2017 with the Lazy Koalas unable to make the journey from Moscow to compete, therefore forfeiting the final leg of the Russian Championship to the Cats.
The Greater Glasgow Giants have etched their names in the AFL Scotland/SARFL history books by downing the Kingdom Kangaroos last month in the 2017 grand-final. The final scores saw the Giants win the match 18 9 117 to 11 13 79 by 38 points to win their first SARFL flag after three attempts.
The result either way would have made history, with the Kingdom Kangaroos also chasing their maiden premiership playing in their first SARFL grand-final. But the day belonged to the Giants, as they added their club name to the premiership honour roll.
The match started with anything but a Giants win on the cards. The Kangaroos stormed away to an early 40 to 9. By half-time, however, the Giants had clawed their way back to be on level terms at the main break, both teams locked on 49 points.
The footy champions from Cork, the Leeside Lions, have claimed the 2017 ARFLI premiership and in so doing gone back to back after winning the title in 2016 also. In a match described as “a keenly contested game with some quality footy from both sides”, the Lions held of a determined South Dublin Swans by 44 points to write a new chapter in their own history, as well as the history of Australian Rules football in Ireland.
The final score saw the Leeside Lions 13 7 85 down the South Dublin Swans 6 5 41 in front of an enthusiastic home crowd at Mardyke Arena in Cork.
The result tops off another great season from the Lions – the team following on from last year’s success by being the dominant side of 2017. But it wasn’t all one-way traffic on grand final day with the Swans rolling up their sleeves and making the Lions work hard.
The Berlin Crocodiles are the toast of German footy after having won their maiden first division AFLG premiership against the Munich Kangaroos. Having gone through the season undefeated, the Crocs were expected to win but they were up against last year’s title-holders and the Munich Kangaroos know how to win on the biggest of days.
It has been a long journey for the Crocs, formed back in 2001. They did taste success in 2009 when they took out the Division B premiership against the Rheinland Lions, and reached their first national grand final two years later, going down to the Lions in 2011.
Last season they reached the grand final again, only to go down to the Munich Kangaroos – in the end it was a blow out of 112 points. That result must have rankled the Crocs and been a huge motivating factor in their flawless performance in 2017. Nothing was going to hold back these Crocs and the final margin of 88 points was just as emphatic in victory this season as last year’s defeat.
The third round of the Australian Rules Football Russian Championship for 2017 took place on 2nd September at the Moscow State University stadium. This round, called the Concrete & Steel Cup, was played in fine conditions in front of a modest but committed crowd. The Cats won the day and have now set up their chance to take the AFL Russia title for 2017.
The final scores saw the Cats lead at every change against the home team before holding on to a five-goal victory – 81 to 51. Our Cat reporter in St.Petersburg, Alexey Andryushin, sent his report about the day and its ramifications.
With the recent success of a new wave of Irish recruits into the AFL system, what major Gaelic football prospects are on the horizon for a code switch to Aussie rules? This year would seem to be a ripe time for such recruits, with the continuing success of AFL players from Gaelic backgrounds, such as Geelong’s Zach Tuohy, Hawthorn’s Conor Glass, and Essendon’s Conor McKenna.
Additionally, the International Rules Series will be held in Australia once again this year, and the Ireland Warriors recently placed third at the 2017 International Cup. Jim Stynes (RIP) and Tadhg Kennelly might not be winning AFL premierships anymore, but it’s safe to say that the Irish experiment is alive and well in footy.
The Kingdom Kangaroos have made it into their first ever grand final by downing the Edinburgh Bloods by 15 points in their preliminary final. It is a great occasion for the club, having joined the SARFL competition back in 2013. Whilst other clubs have started in recent years, the Kangaroos have managed to survive their infant stage and now reach the biggest match in the club’s history.
It sets up a huge grand final match when the Roos will take on the Greater Glasgow Giants tomorrow at the Linlithgow Rugby Club.
Whilst the Giants will go into the match as favourites, the game will not be a one-way street. The Kingdom Kangaroos defeated the Giants only a few weeks ago and have to be rated a chance of an upset by doing so again.
All is set for grand final day in London with all matches set to be played this Saturday at Clapham Common. Whilst it is a great day for all clubs in all grades, most interest will centre on the Premiership Division decider between the Wandsworth Demons and the North London Lions.
The Demons were the first team into the Grand Final when they downed the West London Wildcats two weeks ago, but the Lions found their way into the decider when they downed the Wildcats in a low scoring Preliminary Final, running out 36 point winners: the Lions 6 15 51 defeating the Wildcats 2 3 15. It was a surprise straight sets exit for the Wildcats, a team which had for most of the season been neck and neck with flag favourites, the Demons.