Ireland's Neil McGee, Michael Murphy and Paddy McBrearty celebrate in 2013. INPHO/James Crombie
lease of life

Ireland to play Australia in one-off International Rules Test

The clash will take place at Paterson Stadium in Perth this November.

IRELAND WILL PLAY Australia in a one-off International Rules Test at Patersons Stadium in Perth on 22 November.

The winner-takes-all match replaces the two Test format and will also see the AFL allowed to select from a wider playing group, rather than just the indigenous selection that travelled to Ireland, and were soundly beaten, in 2013.

GAA president Liam O’Neill commented, “After the conclusion of the 2013 Series, we expressed our genuine fears for the future of International Rules if the best players from both countries were unable to commit to their national sides.

Both Associations agreed that the one sided nature of the last two series has had a major effect on attendances and general public interest; it is obvious to us all that if this trend is not reversed in 2014, it will be difficult to argue that there is any sustainable future for the game at this point in time.”

O’Neill believes the November date, which will not clash with major fixtures in either country, should ensure greater participation of Australian and Irish players. He added, however, that a sell-out crowd in November would convince both the GAA and AFL that the series has a future.

Paul Earley will once again manage the Ireland squad Down Under with a backroom team of Tony Scullion, Seamus McCarthy, Ja Fallon and Nicholas Walsh.

Michael Murphy and Aidan Walsh lift the trophy Michael Murphy and Aidan Walsh lift the IRS cup in 2013. INPHO / James Crombie INPHO / James Crombie / James Crombie

AFL general manager of football operations, Mark Evans declared, “Australian and Irish fans want to see a spectacular and competitive contest played between the most talented AFL players and Ireland’s best Gaelic footballers. We are determined to restore the prestige and popularity of the International Rules Series between Australia and Ireland.”

He continued, “Ireland’s players have proved extremely keen and competitive in recent times and so we simply cannot afford to put forward anyone less than the AFL’s best players. By limiting selection to All Australian players, by scheduling the Test later in the year at the end of most players’ leave, and by amending the rules we believe we will field a strong and competitive Australian side that will re-establish the event’s standing in the eyes of fans.”

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