INTERNATIONAL RULES OK
GAELIC FOOTBALL, YOU ASK?
in 1996 I spoke with Paidi O'Sé, the tough man of Kerry football about International Rules. O'Sé coached his team to the All
Ireland 2000 football championship against Galway at Croke
CLICK HERE FOR PART ONE OF THAT INTERVIEW
And I talked to the locals as Ballylanders played some real football ..CLICK HERE to see the game.
In 2000 the boys from Oz met a real Irish President, one elected
by the people, and beat the Irish at their own game, and everyone
including President Mary McAleese reckons the game has a real future.
Let's hope the men at the top explore the potential of these games
to take 'football' to the world.
It was in Hayes Hotel Thurles, Tipperary (pictured below) in 1884
that the Gaelic Athletics Association was formed. From
its inception the GAA, in keeping with its commitment to Irish self
determination, banned members from playing British 'garrison' games
such as soccer, rugby and cricket. assive USA market?
In his new book 'One Voice' legendary Irish singer Christy
Moore is far from complimentary in his thoughts on the the GAA.
'What's wrong with them GAA arseholes that they won't allow soccer
or rugby at Croker? It's hardly any more foreign than Neil
Diamond or American bore ball.............they denied me my Tipperary
medal because I played rugby with Cashel.....', he writes.
Gaelic games, whether with sticks or a round ball are a national
passion in Ireland and offer a direct link to the huge and increasingly
self conscious Irish Diaspora in America. At the Tipperary
Business Development Institute Conference in Thurles in September
2000 Ed Murnane from Illinois delivered a spirited speech on how
the descendants of the Tipperary exodus could enhance the economy
of Ireland's most famous county. You'll find Ed's thoughts
on his website www.murnane.org.
They definitely translate to the football question.
Many commentators are now convinced that indigenous games such
as Aussie Rules and Gaelic football must adapt if they are to survive
against global games such as Soccer. O'Sé is one such man.
A fluent Irish speaker O'Sé runs a pub on the Dingle. Yes,
that's Tom Cruise on the wall.
"Do you like him?" I asked.
"I fancy his wife more" came the reply when I met the
Kerry man on the Dingle back in 1996.
Rather than plotting to pinch Irish players AFL clubs should help
the Irish game to flourish while exploring the American connection.
Only through a link with Gaelic Football can Aussie Rules hope to
have a serious presence overseas. Funnily enough, Ian Collins,
the former Manager of Football Operations at the AFL, and I were
in complete agreement about this when we recently met for a yarn
about Soccer at Colonial Stadium.
Through creative exchange relationships a University could facilitate
the development of the game within an Irish/Celtic cultural framework
that takes Irish/Australian football to the world. The Tipperary
Rural and Business Development Institute in Thurles which hosted
the Ceiliúradh Thiobraid Árann conference in September (my paper
was on emigration to the Daylesford region) could provide one such
Famous as the place where in 1916 James Connolly's Citizen
Army took the fight to the British Army, the Dublin GPO
on Hurling day hosts a different combatant.
Kilkenny went on to win the championship.
The good news is that Andrew Demetriou, the man who has replaced
Ian Collins at the AFL understands just where to take the International
Rules games. Well, he's a Coburg boy so what would you expect.
Brian Sanaghan taught him how to count at Newlands High.
You can find the thoughts of Brian in 'the people stand up' section
of the politics page.