Just over a week remains before competing teams run out onto the playing fields of Stadium Robert Monseau, Saint Médard en Jalles in Bordeax. Teams are now in final preparations for journeying to the French city ready for the start of the 9-per side championship.
Bordeaux knows very well how to stage the event, having hosted the event back in 2013. On that occasion, the French teams in both the men’s and women’s were unlucky runners-up. This time around, the buzz around France is to turn that result around and take one, or both, of those titles.
But there is a class field assembled once again. Last year’s winner of the men’s draw, the Croatian Knights, are ready to go again after having performed well in the International Cup in Melbourne just a few weeks ago. The team they vanquished last year, the Irish warriors, will be determined to reverse that result. In the women’s draw, last year’s finalists – the Irish Banshees and the England Vixens are back.
Recently retired AFL great Steve Johnson and Sydney premiership player Tadhg Kennelly are joining the Sydney Swans coaching ranks.
The Irishman returns to the club where he played 197 AFL games, after holding coaching and development roles with the AFL following his retirement in 2011.
At this stage it would seem that this would remove him from the AFL payroll where he was International Talent Manager and has been heavily involved in the AFL Europe Combine testing which is predominantly focused on recruiting young Irish GAA talent.
Marc McGowan from the http://www.afl.com.au website has looked deeply at some of the current player prospects from Ireland for next season, should clubs wish to go back again to the international well. He also examines the various success and otherwise of the Irish (and by extension international) decisions made by clubs since the early days of Sean Wight and Jim Stynes.
With the trade and draft period about t begin, McGowan look at the “Irish 21” list of players to have come from Ireland and played senior level AFL/VFL football. Maybe there are some more diamonds in the rough that recruiter have their eyes on for the future.
The 2017 instalment of the Tyne Tees Cup was played out in Newcastle this weekend. The tournament has been a great success since its inception a few years back, and this year was no exception with teams coming from Scotland (Kingdom Kangaroos) and London (Wimbledon Hawks women’s team) as well as a combined AFLCNE team with representatives from the Huddersfield Rams, Wolverhampton Wolverines, Nottingham Scorpions and Sheffield Thunder.
The men’s competition featured a round robin style format. Across the day, Round One saw the Kingdom Kangaroos down the Tyne Tees Tigers. Round Two then saw the AFLCNE combined team defeat the Kangaroos. The AFLCNE team then prevailed against the Tyne Tees Tigers, setting up a final against the Kangaroos.
It was only a few months ago – May to be exact – that the ALFA Lions became the toast of their home city of Lyon and French footy in general. Their success after just four years in the national competition was the stuff of legends and as the new season approaches they are ready once again to chase the ultimate prize.
The Coupe de France tournament commences in Paris this weekend and the Lions will be there. But a quick chat with the Lions’ crew puts this tournament into perspective for this club and their aims this year. “The Coupe de France takes place in Paris this weekend. This is good to start the season with this event as we can meet everyone and create a nice atmosphere for all the year.”
“There are six teams this year. Two teams from Paris, Cergy Pontoise, Toulouse, Bordeaux and us. It will be a really open [competition] as it often is at the start of the season. We know that teams like Bordeaux and Toulouse are becoming stronger this year.”
With the off-season done and dusted it is time for the teams of the CNFA national Australian Rules football competition to dust of the cobwebs completely and play some tough, hard footy. That commences this weekend with the Coupe de France getting under way. Six teams will hit the playing fields in Paris with the two local clubs – the Paris Cockerels and Paris Cockatoos – joined by near neighbour the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes.
Also journeying to the competition are the Toulouse Hawks, the Bordeaux Bombers and the reigning CNFA premiers, the ALFA Lions.
Like all pre-season competitions, the Coupe de France provides the opportunity for clubs to put new skills and tactics into place as well as gaining experience for players new to the game – as well as those who will just benefit from being under match conditions again.
The VFLW is arguably the best competition for women in Australia outside the newly formed AFLW. This weekend their Grand Final will be played from midday at Etihad Stadium. The match will be shown live in Melbourne Channel 7 from 11.30am and covered on RSN Digital radio by the Girls Play Footy team from 11am.
Just over a month since the International Cup Grand Final Ireland’s Laura Corrigan-Duryea will represent Diamond Creek in the match, who on form should be overwhelming favourites in the match. Corrigan-Duryea and Irish Banshees team mate Clara Fitzpatrick both were on the winning side two week’s ago when they convincingly defeated the Darebin Falcons in the Qualifying Final at Piranha Park, Coburg.
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.