April 12th is a national day in Russia. It is called Cosmonautics Day and celebrates the anniversary of Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, who was the first man into space, circling the Earth for almost two hours on April 12th 1961.
As a major day of Russian celebration, AFL Russia has for many years played either a match or tournament, under the banner of the Gagarin Cup, as a major Australian Rules football event in Moscow.
In recent years the event has become a part of the overall Russian football season where the two major national teams – the Lazy Koalas from Moscow and the St Petersburg – play each other for the honour of the Gagarin Cup.
After just six games of Australian football, Irishman Mark O'Connor will make his AFL debut for Geelong at the MCG on Saturday.
After being a very promising GAA football talent in Ireland and playing for County Kerry, O'Connor was invited to the AFL Europe combine in Dublin. Impressive in the testing there he was invited to Melbourne where he was hot property at the AFL Combine in Melbourne last October.
Being an international rookie prospect he was in the position of fielding a number of offers before he finally chose Geelong. He joined fellow Irish recruit Zac Tuohy who had just been traded from Carlton. An impressive pre-season and good early from in the VFL have seen the Geelong selectors back the raw Irish talent for his accelerated AFL debut.
On Saturday there is some chance he will run out on the MCG and be matched against another Irishman in Conor McKenna who had a similar journey via the AFL Europe combine before ending up at Essendon.
AFL Scotland clubs, the Edinburgh Bloods and Glasgow Giants, fought out a brilliant match last weekend at the Leith Academy fields in Edinburgh. In a match described by both clubs as one of the closest in recent memory, the Bloods pinched the game with just seconds to spare to outlast the Sharks.
Edinburgh Bloods 75
Glasgow Sharks 73
The two clubs have a long history, being the oldest in the competition as it now stands, and their rivalry goes back to the early days of the code in Scotland. But it is also built on mutual respect and both clubs applauded the efforts of the other after a thrilling match. The result sees Edinburgh join the Greater Glasgow Giants with a win apiece after two matches (rounds) of the AFL Scotland competition.
The new 2017 ARFLI Premiership season got underway recently with players just itching to get back amongst the action after an all too long off season. Of those teams impatiently waiting, reigning champions, the Leeside Lions, were keen to get off on the right foot as they seek to go back to back.
Hosted by the Lions at their home turf at The Farm, UCC playing fields in Curraheen, Cork, teams were under immediate pressure playing the current premiers on their own home. Results somewhat reflected that as the Lions won both of their matches and sprinted from the blocks in fine style.
The South Dublin Swans and Galway Magpies both nabbed victories along the way to register solid starts to the season while the Belfast Redbacks lost both of their outings.
Footy got back into top gear last weekend in London with Round One of the AFL London competition. In the Premiership Division a changing of the guard took place in the off season. The Putney Magpies moved themselves back to the Conference Division. Their place was taken by the South East London Giants.
In their inaugural game at the highest level, the Giants took on the Wimbledon Hawks and took it up to their more experienced opposition. The final margin of 44 points was commanding without being a hiding – a good sign first up for the Giants. It also marked a positive start to the season for the Hawks and something to build on for an assault on the finals.
Round Two of the AFLCNE competition in England was completed last weekend. The following article from the AFLCNE website gives the rundown of the round.
With round 2 drawing to a close, there have been some shifts in the AFLCNE ladder this week. The Mozzies have taken the top spot from Wolves, who sit this week out, with a big win over the Saints, with the Scorps also seeing Wolves’ bye week lifting them into 2nd. Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, Sheffield switched with Tyne Tees to go into 5th and the Saints are 7th.
The first game of the round saw the Mozzies take on Merseyside Saints, who were kicking off their second season. This produced a thumping 243-7 win for Manchester Mosquitoes, giving them an enviable percentage of 2400. However, as always, the scoreline isn’t a fair reflection of the game, and with it being an improvement on the 273-7 score for the corresponding game last year, the Saints will be hoping that their development will bear fruit later in the season.
In one of the more remarkable performances in recent years the ALFA Lions from Lyon in France have taken out this season’s CNFA premiership in fine style, downing last year’s premiers – the Paris Cockatoos – by 62 points. The final score (Lions 103 d Cockatoos 41) was comprehensive and the ideal exclamation point on an undefeated season for a fiercely proud pride of Lions.
The result was notable for the fact that the club won all matches this season across the home and away season and the finals series. But what makes their season a truly “out of the ordinary” performance was that this premiership came after winning last season’s wooden spoon.
Finishing last in both the 2013/14 and 2015/16 seasons, and a sixth place in 2014/15, there was little to indicate the season they have just had. To highlight this further – prior to this season, the Lions had won just five games across their previous three seasons.
They are the two largest urban areas in France – Paris with over 11 million people and Lyon with almost 2 million. They are also the cities represented by two wonderful football teams in this weekend’s CNFA (French) Grand Final.
The ALFA Lions from Lyon are in their first decider since joining the league for the 2013/14 season. The Paris Cockatoos are in their second successive decider since joining last season – and winning a flag in their maiden season. It is a true changing of the guard for the competition and a very healthy sign of things to come.
But to pick a winner on the day is harder and there is some compelling evidence to support both teams. The ALFA Lions have gone through the season to date undefeated. That is a remarkable effort in any season, but arguably more so in the case of the Lions after years of building they have suddenly got to within touching distance of the summit. They also won their only encounter with the Cockatoos this season by a commanding 46 points (86 to 40), meaning they certainly have an edge psychologically over the Cockatoos.
The new season has started across central and northern England with some big scores, heavy losses and a tight tussle thrown into the mix. After an off season of planning, plotting, training and hoping, teams took to the fields. Following is an article from the AFLCNE website looking at the round.
With round 1 over, we can take a look at the past weekend. It was a high scorer, with the Mozzies and Wolves powering ahead to form an early leading pack. Nottingham’s victory over Huddersfield sees them take 3rd position, while the Saints sit at the bottom by default.
Saturday saw Manchester Mosquitoes welcome Tyne Tees Tigers for this season’s opener. While the Tigers put in a hard-fought performance, the experienced and well-drilled Mozzies proved too much, putting in a commanding 216-12 victory and giving a hint that they’re going all out for that fourth premiership.
Irishman Paddy Brophy has decided to end his Australian football career and return to GAA football in Ireland. He has cited personal reasons, including homesickness. Brophy was originally identified in the AFL's European Combine before being signed by the West Coast Eagles.
He played WAFL football in 2015 and 2016 but was unable to make a debut at AFL level.
West Coast Eagles Irish import Paddy Brophy has called time on his bid to become the club’s first international rookie to play senior football.
Brophy, in his third year at the club, has decided to return to his home country where he will resume his Gaelic football career, with the aim of playing for County Kildare.
The popular Irishman has been a valued part of the club’s squad and has performed strongly at WAFL level, without getting an opportunity at the elite level. He has played primarily off half-back with East Perth and has captivated staunch Royals fans with his dash and dare.