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Paul Earley: Aussies will be competitive for one-off International rules Test

Updated: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 18:46 | Comments

Ireland and Australia line up before the second Test at Croke Park last October
Ireland and Australia line up before the second Test at Croke Park last October

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And so it continues. This week the GAA and the AFL announced that the International Rules series will take place this year, but only as a one-off Test. Australia will face Ireland in Perth’s Patersons Stadium on Saturday 22 November.

The Irish will again be managed by Paul Earley, who presided over a facile success against the Aussies in the games played at Breffni Park and Croke Park last autumn. The aggregate score over the two clashes was 173-72.

Many wondered whether the series would continue. GAA director general Paraic Duffy has warned that the upcoming renewal must work if its future is to be secured.

However, Paul Earley is confident that the new approach from the Australians will ensure a competitive tussle in Perth.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, he said: “Over the last number of months, they’ve looked at it very seriously and made a decision they want to be competitive.

"They’ve chosen a high-quality head coach in Alastair Clarkson from Hawthorn in the AFL and will pick a team made up of only from those players selected as all-Australian.

"So it will be the top players in Australia that Ireland will be competing against. That’s what the whole basis of this series was about when it was established back in the 1980s – our best would play Australia’s best.

"That hasn’t been the case for the last few years, but it will be the case this year. For that reason it will be very competitive and will represent a huge challenge for us. I know the players are very excited about it, as am I." 

When asked that it was an awful long way to go for one Test, Earley replied: "Ideally we would have had two Tests.

"Indeed, there was a fear that no game would take place this year given that the last two series were very one-sided and Australia were not picking their top players." 

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