International Rules Returning to Calendar in 2020

The ability to shout ‘Come on Ireland’ in a GAA context is to be revived in 2020 with the return of the International Rules test series against a representative team from Aussie Rules Football.

AFL and the GAA have confirmed that two, two-test International Rules Series will be played in both Ireland and Australia.

The first series will be played in Ireland in November 2020 with a return two-test series to be played in Australia in 2022.

The Provisional dates for next year’s games are Sunday, November 15 and Saturday, November 21 with venues and match arrangements to be confirmed in due course.

The matches will be the first played in the series since Australia reclaimed the Cormac McAnallen Trophy after matches in Adelaide and Perth in 2017.

The last time that games were played in Ireland was at Croke Park in 2015 in front of a crowd of 38,386.

The first matches were held in 1984 and the contest has existed on an occasional basis, switching between the original three-game series, through two games and one-off matches ever since.

The high point was in 2006 in front of a sold-out Croke Park of over 82,000 fans. That followed on from a first test in Pearse Stadium in Galway in front of 35,000.

92,000 watched the two matches at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick and Croke Park in 2010 but the number dipped to 45,000 in 2013 when Breffni Park in Cavan and Croke Park hosted.

Two years later 38,386 watched the one-off test at Croke Park while 55,000 turned out for the last two-match series in Australia two years ago.

The games have been broadcast between TG4 and RTÉ over their lifetime though no broadcast arrangements have been announced yet for the revival.

There has also been substantial interest in sponsorship with Coca Cola supporting Irish teams through the early series up until 2008 to be followed at different levels by the Irish Daily Mail, TG4, GAA Go and Eirgrid who supported the last series in 2015.

“We are pleased to announce the return of the International Rules Series in 2020 and look forward to reconnecting with our friends and colleagues in the AFL, both on and off the field,” said GAA Director General Tom Ryan.

“The series offers our players the chance to wear the green jersey and represent Ireland and it also provides them with an opportunity to pit themselves against the best from another code while showcasing the best skills of Gaelic football.”

Image credits, Sportsfile

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