Ulster looking strong for Rules ties
Ireland international Rules team manager Sean Boylan was a more than interested spectator at Croke Park yesterday when Tyrone confronted Kerry in the All Ireland football final.
Boylan, currently in the throes of drawing up his panel for the forthcoming two-Test series Down Under, was running the rule over a number of players from both sides as the countdown continues to the resumption of the series which had ben put into cold storage following the thuggery that marked both Tests two years ago.
While Boylan is keeping his options open in terms of the composition of his panel, it is becoming clear that there will be a healhty Ulster involvement.
In trial games to date a number of Ulster players have impressed but Boylan and his fellow selectors are not expected to finalise their squad until the start of October.
A substantial number of players are still involved in club championship matches within the various counties and Boylan is particularly anxious that injuries can be avoided.
Former Derry All Ireland winning midfielder Anthony Tohill is an integral part of the Ireland management team and has been to the fore in observing players of late, as well as having an input into the trials.
GAA president Nickey Brennan and GAA director general Pauric Duffy will be having talks with Australian Football League officials in relation to amendments of some of the playing rules with Brennan particularly keen to ensure that there is no repetition of the violence that led to the series being put on the back burner last year.
"The Rules series offers our players a great opportunity to represent their country and we want them to be able to avail of that. We feel that there will now be better disciplinary structures in place to ensure that the Tests are played in a proper sporting manner when the emphasis will be on skill and technique," says Brennan.
The Tests will be staged in Australia on October 24 and October 31.
Meanwhile, it would seem the name of the new Derry manager will not be known until next month. It is understood that six candidates are still in the frame but the county board is in no rush to rubber-stamp their appointment.
The inter-provincial football and hurling finals will not, after all, be played at Croke Park. Instead, they will take place at O'Moore Park, Portlaoise on November 1.
Ulster are due to meet Munster in the football and hurling semi-finals on Saturday October 25 in Dungarvan.
New football team boss Joe Kernan, who managed Armagh to All Ireland success, will be assisted by Tony Scullion while Dominic McKinley and Terence McNaughton will have charge of the hurlers.