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International Rules returns with the Australians tipped to scrap the 'indigenous only' team

By Donnchadh Boyle

GAA president Liam O'Neill has confirmed that the International Rules series will take place later this year.

The GAA and the Australian Football League are in the process of hammering out the details of what is expected to be a two-Test series next October with the Australians tipped to scrap the 'indigenous only' side that pitched up here last year.

Paul Earley's men were comfortable winners of both games in Croke Park and Cavan, a result that came on the back of Ireland's record win Down Under in 2011.

The process has been delayed somewhat as the AFL continue their search for a successor to CEO Andrew Demetrio.

"We're very near; we've had contact from them and we're very near to confirming arrangements with them," O'Neill said. "There will be a tournament or an event in Australia involving our players and involving their players."

O'Neill also refused to get involved in a war of words with former Irish marathon runner Jerry Kiernan after his claim that the GAA shouldn't be in receipt of any government money.

"What I would say about it is that we're aware and respect the achievements of athletes in every sport," added O'Neill.

"We were delighted to congratulate the IRFU on their international success, we applaud our soccer teams, our boxers, we parade our sportsmen who win international competitions in Croke Park, and we're happy to do that.

"It would be an awful pity... that any sports person would look to denigrate any other sportspeople and we applaud athletes.

"In fact, it's ironic that at a time when we have made an offer to Athletics Ireland to use some of our centres of excellence around the country, we've said that if they want to put athletics tracks around some of our centres of excellence, that we'd be delighted to co-operate with that, because we were the Gaelic Athletic Association at one time.

"There's always been a sort of natural alignment between Gaelic games and athletics and we'd love to foster that."

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