Thursday, October 28, 2010

International Rules 23rd ofOctober 2010

For my 2nd individual assignment I decided to do the International Rules match which took place in Limerick Gaelic grounds on the 23rd of October. As an introduction to my piece I'm going to explain the basics of the sport.

Where International Rules came from
The game Australian Rules or Aussie rules was first played in 1859 in Melbourne Australia. It’s played widely across Australia with over 800,000 registered players and over 3,000 clubs. It’s a contact sport with 22 players on the panel and 18 on the field (4 being substitutes). The Aussi rules game is played on an oval shaped outdoor pitch. Aussi rules are very similar to the International Rules series. It’s basically a combination of Gaelic football and Australian football. In Aussi rules the pitch is oval with 4 vertical posts and no cross bars. This game is played with a rugby ball.
In Gaelic football the pitch is rectangular. There’s just 2 vertical posts with a cross bar and a goal net. This game is played with a Gaelic football which is spherical. For international rules the traditional Gaelic pitch is used. There is 4 vertical posts with the cross bar and goal net and is played with the Gaelic football. International rules are a hybrid of both games.

International Rules facts
Since 1967 there have been numerous matches between Australian Rules football teams and Gaelic football teams. In 1984, the first official matches of this hybrid took place and have taken place annually in October every year. In 2007 the games were stopped because of the high levels of aggression and severity from the Australian players. In 2008 the games returned with new rules to protect the player with the ball.
Objective and rules of the game
The objective of the game is to kick the ball between the posts. There’s more points awarded if you score through the main netted post. Each goal is worth 6 points. Anything scored above the crossbar of the middle goal is worth 3 points and finally anything scored between either the left or right vertical posts is worth one point. The goal umpire signals a goal by raising his hands at elbow height, a score above the cross bar with one hand. The goal is confirmed by the other umpire waving 2 flags above his head. The team with the higher final score at the end of the 80 minute match (made up of 4 20 minute quarters) wins. There are many rules in the game. Tackling is allowed providing the tackle is below shoulder height. Anything above this is considered a foul. As in Gaelic football you must take a certain amount of steps between each dribble of the ball.

Match Between the Irish and Australian International Rules teams
On the 23rd of October I attended a match where Ireland courageously took on the Australian International rules team. The limerick Gaelic grounds were the location of the first leg of the international battle. With a crowd of 35,000 enthusiastic supporters the atmosphere was truly ecstatic. After hammering the University of Cork team a few days prior to the match as a warm up match, the Australian team’s chances of doing well on the Saturday night seemed very high. However this was unfortunately for the Irish team the ugly truth. The match on Saturday was a huge disappointment for everyone who attended including myself. There was literally a minimum amount of contact between both teams and considering this is supposed to be a full contact sport this was very disheartening from the first minute of the match through to the 80th minute. Not only was there hardly any contact in the match it was also a low speed match. If the second leg of the match in Croke Park turns out to be anything like the one in Limerick the future of the international rules matches may be put on hold for the foreseeable future.

Ireland's Brendan Murphy and the impressive Adam Goodes of Australia battle for possession last weekend. - (Photograph: Lorraine O'Sullivan/Inpho).

Matches over the years

Match Statistics
Many of the Irish players did play a good match including players such as Cluxton, Graham Canty, Colm Begley, Leighton Glynn, Sean McDermott, Tadhg Kennelly, McDonnell and Brogan. But the Irish players had many good opportunities that they couldn’t convert into proper chances. They were losing 21-47 halfway through the match but did miraculously manage to catch up to make the score 40-47 but unfortunately their attempts weren’t enough to break the barrier and be victorious. The Australian team won the first three quarters by margins of three, two, and four points respectively, but lost the last by two after Brogan's goal revived Ireland's effort and ensured the series headed for Croke Park as a going concern which may cause serious damage for the sport in the coming years.
Hopefully with more determination and luck the Irish team will perform better on Sunday in Croke Park and pt some pride and belief into the Irish supporters of this sport.
When I attend the 2nd leg of the match I really hope to be surprised with a huge level of improvement and see the spor in all its glory.

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