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Tadhg Kennelly in action for Ireland against Australia on Friday. Photo by: Google Images

Sports Digest: G’day for Irish Down Under - Irish demolish Australia twice in the Compromise Rules series

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Tadhg Kennelly in action for Ireland against Australia on Friday. Photo by: Google Images

VICTORIOUS Ireland boss Anthony Tohill claimed his team had produced the perfect game as they demolished Australia not once but twice in the Compromise Rules series.

Tohill and players flew home with the Cormac McAnallen Trophy after they followed their 44 point win in Melbourne with another emphatic 50-29 victory in the second test on Friday night. The Gold Coast win saw Ireland take the series on a 130-65 aggregate score in front of just over 12,000 fans last weekend.

“Tonight was all about winning and it didn’t matter whether it was by a point or 21 points. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think that we won every quarter in both games so we couldn’t ask for any more from our players. They were fantastic again,” said Derry native Tohill.

“Nothing beats playing the game and I was lucky enough to have captained Ireland in 2001 to a Test series win. But that performance last Friday night in Melbourne was, I thought, the most complete performance that I saw from any Irish team.”

The Aussies raised the physical stakes on Friday after their comprehensive defeat in the opening game as a number of clashes threatened to turn ugly in a game which saw three players from each side sin-binned.

“It’s a very, very fine line. For a while tonight I thought it was going to boil over,” added Ireland boss Tohill.

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“I must say I’m relieved to get all my players off that pitch with no injuries. There was a time there tonight I was concerned with where that game was going.

“I’m just glad that it settled down and that we got the game finished with no injuries. We welcome the physical side of the game. We don’t get it in our own game, so we welcome it here, but it has to be within the rules.”

Kerryman Tadhg Kennelly brought the curtain down on his Aussie sporting career with a key role in the Irish win, then dedicated to those suffering from the collapse of the Celtic Tiger back home in Ireland.
Kennelly said, “It’s a very, very difficult time at home. It’s something we talked about, trying to get a bit of pride back in Ireland.

“We tried to bring a bit of happiness and give people a few minutes not to worry about what’s going on outside of the house. We wanted to give them pride in the people who come from their clubs and their counties.”

Future Series?

CROKE Park bosses are adamant that the 2013 Compromise Rules series will go ahead in Ireland despite the apathy of the Australian public.

Crowds were poor in Melbourne and on the Gold Coast as Anthony Tohill’s Ireland side blew away their Aussie Rules opponents in the hybrid game.

Many pundits have questioned the future of the series, but the GAA’s director general Paraic Duffy is confident the next series will go ahead after meeting with his Aussie counterpart Andrew Demetriou ahead of the second test.

“He (Demetriou) said their season was longer than usual this year,” Duffy told the Irish Examiner. “He said there was a certain element of fatigue due to their games. They put it back a week, and that didn’t help.

“They should have played the first Test here on the Gold Coast and the second game in Melbourne.

With the Rugby World Cup and the Melbourne Cup they found it very hard to get their voices heard in terms of media exposure. They spent the same amount on promotion as they did in previous years.

“He accepted that the team didn’t have enough star names. That was a factor. That was the biggest factor in terms of the crowd but they are absolutely committed to the Series.

“He said the players do want to play in it. We have agreed that they we going to play it on a two-year cycle again. He says they are absolutely committed to it and I would accept his word on that. It is going to go ahead. We need to get Central Council approval on that but we will get that.”

Meath legend Sean Boylan, who managed the Ireland side in the 2006 and 2008 series, believes the Compromise Rules tests should continue.

“I think it’s terribly important all officials in the association keep in contact with their players and what it means to the players,” said Boylan

“It is a massive outlet for them. It’s like Katie Taylor last week winning her European gold. We’re all as proud as punch of her and I’d think long and hard before I’d dismiss that. I think it’s a marvelous opportunity for the lads to represent their country.

“I never saw an Irish team play as well as they did last week. I thought they were amazing.”

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Tyrone Dismantled

THE Tyrone team that dominated Ulster for so long is no more. Brian McGuigan, Philip Jordan and Ciaran Gourley as the latest players to retire from inter-county football.

McGuigan and Jordan, who won three All-Ireland titles each and a number of all-stars, announced their retirements late last week when team boss Mickey Harte paid tribute to both players.

“I have found both players to be great gentlemen as well as magnificent sportsmen,” said Harte.

“The Tyrone team will miss their energy and class on the field. They have contributed so much to Tyrone’s most successful decade ever.”

Gourley, an All-Ireland winner in 2003 and 2008, has also announced his decision to stand down from the Tyrone squad after recent injury problems.

“When you look at the modern game, total fitness is required. It’s a young man’s game and you have to be fully fit,” Gourley said.

“I had to take what was a hard decision for me, and I’ll miss it. I had a lot of very good days, and I was lucky to be part of great teams.”

Jordan regrets not winning more national titles with Tyrone. “When you look back on it, you’d like to have won more All-Irelands, but 10 years ago, you’d have taken three, that’s for certain,” Jordan told the Irish Examiner.

Browne Back

WATERFORD veteran Tony Browne looks set to continue with the county hurling squad for a 21st championship season after attending a meeting with new boss Michael Ryan last weekend.

“Tony is an all-star nominee this year so that indicates quite a decent level of form. He attended the players’ meeting and we spoke, but I don’t think he’ll make a commitment or a decision for a while yet,” Ryan told the Irish Independent.

“Tony has always looked after himself exceptionally well. He has always returned in great condition, so we’ll see.”
 
GAA Shorts

MEATH man Gerry Cooney, who won two All-Irelands with Sean Boylan’s squad in the eighties, is the new manager of the Offaly senior football team having previously served as a selector with the team in 2006. Clare legend Ollie Baker has been ratified as the county’s new hurling team boss . . .

FORMER Donegal boss Brian McEniff has agreed to become a selector with Louth after an invitation from Wee County boss Peter Fitzpatrick. Mark Brennan and Pepe Smith are both set to return to the Louth squad ahead of the O’Byrne Cup after recent injury problems . . .

KERRY captain and Dr. Crokes star Colm Cooper will undergo ankle surgery after his club’s interest in the Munster and All-Ireland championships come to an end and is unlikely to play for the Kingdom in the National Football League next spring . . .

THE Brogan brothers, Bernard and Alan, suffered disappointment on Sunday as their St. Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh club lost to local rivals St. Brigid’s by just two points in the Dublin county final at Parnell Park on Sunday . . .

NEW Kilkenny senior hurling champions James Stephens have nominated star forward Eoin Larkin as their choice to captain the county team in 2012 . . .

FORMER boss Terence “Sambo” McNaughton could  return to the Antrim hurling fold as a selector alongside new manager Jerry Wallis . . .
 

MEATH midfielder Mark Ward will be out for at least three months after he cracked his sternum in a club match at the weekend . . .

ALL-Ireland winning goalkeeper Michael Walsh has resigned as coach of the Kilkenny under-21 side . . .
MICHAEL Johnston is to continue as manager of the Armagh senior and under-21 hurling teams . . .

OFFALY star Niall McNamee has laughed off speculation that he could switch allegiances to Kildare.

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