The GAA has offered a cautious welcome to the news that Australia intend to field an all-indigenous side for the two-Test International Rules series with Ireland in Cavan and Croke Park in October.
The AFL today announced that, in an attempt to reinvigorate interest in the hybrid game, the tourists will for the first time send an all-indigenous team to represent them.
The only other time an all-indigenous team represented Australia overseas was in 1868 in cricket when the Aussies travelled to England.
In a statement released to RTÉ, the GAA welcomed the news but did sound a note of caution against the AFL sending a weak squad.
However, they revealed that after talks with the AFL, those concerns have mostly been addressed.
“The GAA acknowledges the AFL's decision to select a team of indigenous Australian players for the 2013 International Rules Series and recognises its historical significance as only the second team consisting of indigenous Australians to represent Australia,” the statement read.
“The GAA, in advance of confirmation of this decision, expressed its concerns to the AFL about the possible impact on the series of limiting selection to one group of players.
“The series was established to pit the best Irish players of the GAA against the best Australian players of the AFL and this development represents a departure from that goal. However, the GAA accepts the assurances of the AFL that Australia will be represented by a strong and talented team.
“The Irish team, led by team manager Paul Earley, looks forward to welcoming the Australian team and to two eagerly contested series matches in Kingspan Breffni Park on 19 October and seven days later in Croke Park.”