A report in the Irish Times quotes GAA media relations officer, Feargal McGill saying whilst discussions on the future of the International Rules series between the GAA and AFL in October were "frank and cordial", they "are still set to resume...(and) nothing definite has been planned for the next couple of weeks, and it looks like it will be February before anything is set."
The article goes on to note that the AFL schedule this year will be full enough with the 150th anniversary events, and the GAA is not rushed about the series. The GAA has TV rights negotiations it is preoccupied with, which although far less lucrative than the AFL's TV rights are far more lucrative than the amateur sports association has been used to.
Talks between AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou and the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA)’s president Nickey Brennan, took place in Paris on Thursday night.
It was the first face to face meeting of the two heads of their respective codes since the controversial second test match of International Rules in Croke Pk, Dublin 12 months earlier. That game, played before a full house of 82,000, finished in a convincing victory to Australia but the Irish were incensed by rough play in the first quarter, and called a halt to the series in the immediate aftermath.
Recent comments by the GAA Head of Games, Pat Daly, and the AFL Talent Manager, Kevin Sheehan, show that influential figures on both sides are willing to bring the hybrid code series back onto the calendar, but also that different perspectives remain. Daly talks of the need to stamp out violence, Sheehan of cultural differences that are hard to resist under big match pressure.
GAA Director of Games, Pat Daly, was quoted in the Melbourne Herald Sun as saying the GAA wanted a meeting by late July to discuss ways to resume the International Rules Series. He spoke of the majority of elite level Gaelic footballers wanting the chance to represent Ireland: "The players are very much in favour of it and want it to continue". The AFL's media relations manager, Patrick Keane, reiterated the AFL's desire to see the series resume, but said no meeting date had been set at this stage and they were awaiting the GAA on a meeting date.
Ireland's GAA is talking tough in the lead up to negotiations to restart the International Rules series between Australia and Ireland. All the indications are that the Irish want major rule changes and won't proceed without them.
As reported in the Irish Independent:
GAA President Nicky Brennan has revealed that efforts are underway to revive the International Rules series with Australia, just months after it was shelved. The Irish management team, led by Seán Boylan, met recently to draw up a number of issues which they feel need to be addressed if the series is to have a future. And Brennan said that further feedback had been received from the players involved in the controversial Autumn series with the Australians.
Aussie Rules or International Rules? That has been the question some Australian Football fans have been asking since the re-birth of the hybrid game several years ago. Arguments are made for and against the concept, with some seeing International Rules as a vehicle for promoting Aussie Rules amongst younger Australians who want to see international competition and also as a tool for growing awareness in the footy community of international possibilities for our game. Others condemn it as barely a hybrid and more a slightly modified version of Gaelic football and question whether the AFL will not back Australian Football and forsee a future of International Rules only. Of course most people hold a view somewhere in between these extremes, or haven't given it much thought at all. Recently David Matthews, the AFL's General Manager of National and International Game Development, gave his views on what role International Rules may have long term and whether that clashes with dreams of Australian Football going global.
The Gaelic Athletics Association yesterday voted to officially suspend the International Rules series at a meeting held at Croke Park yesterday. While there is still a possibility that the tours may resume in future, many are tipping that 2006 will be the last for some time, possibly forever.
As part of the decision, it was reported that the junior (under 17s) series will also be put on ice - possibly a blessing for international Aussie Rules if it means the planned tour to South Africa takes its place.
As reported in The Age, Melbourne, on 8 December, the AFL has contingency plans for the under-17 Australian team, if the GAA pulls the plug on International Rules for both senior and under-17 competition between Ireland and Australia - contingency plans being a tour instead to South Africa.
This may happen as early as this weekend with the GAA Central Council meeting at Croke Park, however the Belfast Telegraph suggests the GAA will delay a final decision until after meeting with the AFL in Dubai in January.
The first International Rules Masters (players over 35 years of age) test was played on October 28th this year at the GAA club in Annaghdown, Galway, Ireland. There was both an A and B squad match, with Ireland winning both games.
For the first time ever, an Australian women's team have followed the footsteps of the men's Australian International Rules team, setting out to do what the men have since 1998,
test their wares against the Irish Gaelic footballers. The team has just completed a tour of Ireland, with very one sided results in favour of the home side resulting in Ireland taking the inaugural series easily - though not surprisingly given a critical rule difference compared with the men's series.