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President O'Fearghail gives backing to Aussie contests

By Declan Bogue

GAA President Aoghan O'Fearghail has defended the International Rules series, as well as revealing plans to bring the GAA World Games, recently held with great success in Abu Dhabi, to Croke Park in the coming years.

Speaking at the event unveiling former Armagh manager Joe Kernan as the new Ireland manager for the one-game series later this year as well as the trip Down Under in 2017, O'Fearghail was asked if he feels the series is still somewhat under trial.

He replied: "Trial wouldn't be the right word. It's happening. The Australians are coming on November 21. That's a definite.

"We are definitely committed to going back to Australia in 2017. It is a series, though, between Ireland and Australia. It's not anything wider than that."

Sharing his experiences at Perth in last November's event, the Cavan man continued: "I saw that the young Irish in Australia absolutely loved it and that was something that a lot of people at Central Council took into account.

"The second thing that a lot of people are pleased about at the moment is we now face an Australian team made up of the best players."

O'Fearghail also suggested that more might to done to reach out to GAA units abroad, stating: "I think the big thing internationally is promoting Gaelic football and that's where I would put my main focus over the next few years.

"We're hoping in 2016 to have the international festival that we just had in Abu Dhabi back here in Croke Park. That's the big area for GAA growth. Our own games in all countries."

He also rejected some of the criticism levelled at Gaelic football, saying: "There are far more good things in Gaelic football than negative. Absolutely."

Pushed on recent games that were dominated by negative tactics, he continued: "It's highly entertaining but it's entertaining when you watch a contest between two teams. When you watch a contest between two teams who want to win it's their skill that you are admiring and it is entertaining."

Belfast Telegraph


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