Ireland have qualified for the final of the inaugural Australian Rules World Cup after they beat New Zealand in the semi-final this morning. Ireland are now favourites to beat Paupa New Guinea in the final, which will be played at the MCG in Melboure on Friday as the curtain-raiser to the Hawthorns v Kangaroos match.

The competition featured 11 teams in total including Great Britain, Denmark, Nauru, Japan, USA, Samoa, Canada and South Africa. Australia did not enter a team in the event, which is designed to promote Aussie Rules football worldwide.

The Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI) was formed in October 2000 and the ARLI Premiership features teams such as the Leeside Lions (Cork), Drogheda Dockers, Dublin Demons, Belfast Redbacks and Midland Tigers (Mullingar). And if Ireland triumph on Friday it will not be their first trophy to return home with. The first ever Irish national team beat Denmark in the final of the Atlantic Alliance Cup in London last year.

Filed by James Boylan.