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Game on: here's our 4 most memorable International Rules series

With the modern series only having begun in 1998, we review some of its best and worst moments.

2005 will be remembered as one of the most violent series ever.
2005 will be remembered as one of the most violent series ever.

BEFORE IRELAND TAKE on Australia tomorrow, we thought we’d look back on some of the abiding memories of the modern series since its 1998 inception.

Whether it was players engaging in unsavoury behaviour, or teams launching heroic late comebacks, fans have been provided with plenty to talk about.

Just don’t mention that infamous clothesline…


For better or worse, the 2005 series is not likely to be forgotten anytime soon. Australia won the series comfortably, however it is not the scoreline that this encounter will be remembered for. Instead, it is the brutal, intimidate-at-all-costs approach, which Australia brought to the game. Their behaviour that day drew widespread criticism and led to question marks over the series’ future.

The Australians actions did not ultimately prompt the cancellation of the series, however the competition’s reputation suffered immeasurably as a result of these events.


Even though the unsavoury elements of the previous year were still firmly fixed in most people’s memories, a significant amount of violence was again evident in this contest. Meanwhile, negative publicity relating to the event was not limited to on-field activities. Australia’s Brendan Fevola was in the headlines for assaulting an Irish barman and was subsequently sent home as a result of his behaviour.

After 2006, the series was indefinitely postponed, and officials were persuaded to enforce a series of stricter punishments in an attempt to ensure such behaviour never occurred again.


The series’ wins have been fairly evenly divided so far, with Ireland triumphing on seven occasions to Australia’s eight. 2008 was one such occasion when Ireland just about did enough to take home the Cormac McAnallen Cup. They defeated Australia in Melbourne 57-52, enabling them to win the series with an aggregate score of 102-97.

Irish captain Sean Cavanagh was one of the heroes of the tour, and his well-worked Irish goal below was one of the best moments.


Despite the series continuing, critics have still doubted its relevance, however the 2010 series displayed some of its better aspects and served to emphasis its value. A 61,000-strong crowd witnessed an intriguing second test. Ireland had given a below-par performance in the first test, but launched a stunning comeback and demonstrated an abundance of passion and skill in doing so.

Unfortunately for Anthony Tohill’s men, their belated heroics turned out to be too little too late, as they suffered the disappointment of losing on home soil in this thrilling finale. The crowd and the team at least had the compensation of an admirable performance to look back upon.

Read: Kennelly says Ireland would run away with it against All-Australian team>

Read: Praise from GAA president for Garda lost during Wicklow flooding>

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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