International rules football
An international rules football match at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, between Australia and Ireland
|Highest governing body||Australian Football League
Gaelic Athletic Association
|Nickname(s)||IR, Inter rules, Compromise rules|
|First played||1967 (Australian Football World Tour)|
|Mixed gender||Single (Male Only at Elite Level)|
International rules football (Irish: Peil na rialacha idirnáisiunta; also known as inter rules in Australia and compromise rules in Ireland) is a team sport consisting of a hybrid of football codes, which was developed to facilitate international representative matches between Australian rules football players and Gaelic football players.
The first tour, known as the Australian Football World Tour, took place in 1967, with matches played in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The following year, games were played between Australia and a touring County Meath Gaelic football team, Meath being the reigning All-Ireland senior football champions. Following intermittent international tests between Australia and Ireland, the International Rules Series between the senior Australian international rules football team and Ireland international rules football team has been played annually since 1998 (except for the cancelled 2007 edition), and has generally been a closely matched contest. The sport has raised interest and exposure in developing markets for Gaelic and Australian football and has been considered a development tool by governing bodies of both codes, particularly by the AFL Commission.
International rules football does not have any dedicated clubs or leagues. It is currently played by men's, women's, and junior teams only in tournaments or Test matches.
The rules are designed to provide a compromise between those of the two codes, with Gaelic football players being advantaged by the use of a round ball and a rectangular field (Australian rules uses an oval ball and field), while the Australian rules football players benefit from the opportunity to tackle between the shoulders and thighs, something banned in Gaelic football. The game also introduces the concept of the mark, from Australian rules football, with a free kick awarded for any ball caught from a kick of over 15 metres.
A player must bounce, solo or touch the ball on the ground once every 10 metres or six steps. A maximum of two bounces per possession are allowed, while players can solo the ball as often as they wish on a possession. Unlike in Gaelic football, the ball may be lifted directly off the ground, without putting a foot underneath it first. Players however cannot scoop the ball off the ground to a team-mate, nor pick up the ball if they are on their knees or on the ground. If a foul is committed, a free kick will be awarded, referees can give the fouled player advantage to play on at their discretion.
The game uses two large posts and two small posts, as in Australian rules, and a crossbar and goal net as in Gaelic football.
Points are scored as follows:
- In the goal net (a goal): 6 points, umpire waves green flag and raises both index fingers.
- Over the crossbar and between the two large posts (an over): 3 points, umpire waves red flag and raises one arm above his head.
- Between a large post and a small post (a behind): 1 point, umpire waves white flag and raises one index finger.
Scores are written so as to clarify how many of each type of score were made as well as, like Australian football, giving the total points score for each team; for example, if a team scores one goal, four overs and 10 behinds, the score is written as 1-4-10 (28), meaning one goal (six points) plus 4 overs (4 × 3 = 12 points) plus 10 behinds (10 × 1 = 10 points), for a total score of 28 points.
An international rules match lasts for 72 minutes (divided into four quarters of 18 minutes each). Inter-county Gaelic football matches go on for 70 minutes, divided into two halves, and Australian rules matches consists of four 20 minutes quarters of game time, although with the addition of stoppage time, most quarters actually last between 25 and 30 minutes.
As in Gaelic football, teams consist of fifteen players, including a goalkeeper, whereas eighteen are used in Australian rules (with no keeper).
2006 rule changes
A number of rule changes were introduced before the 2006 International Rules Series:
- Each quarter was reduced from 20 minutes to 18 minutes
- A player who received a red card is to be sent off and no replacement is allowed; in addition to this a penalty is awarded regardless of where the incident takes place (Previously a replacement was allowed and a penalty was only awarded if the incident happened in the penalty area)
- A yellow card now means a 15 minute sin bin for the offending player, who will be sent off if he receives a second card
2008 rule changes
- Maximum of 10 interchanges per quarter
- Teams are allowed only four consecutive hand passes (ball must then be kicked)
- Match time reduced from 80 minutes to 72 minutes (18 minutes per quarter)
- Goalkeeper can no longer kick the ball to himself from the kick-out
- Suspensions may carry over to GAA and AFL matches if The Match Review Panel sees fit
- A dangerous "slinging" tackle will be an automatic red card
- A front-on bump (known as a shirtfront in Australian football) endangering the head will result in a red card
- Physical intimidation can result in a yellow card
- One-handed tackles result in a free kick
- An independent referee can cite players for reportable offences from the stands
- Yellow card sin bin reduced to 10 minutes
History and competitions
The first games were the idea of Australian sports broadcaster and media personality Harry Beitzel, who organised a tour in October 1967 to play County Meath after Meath had won that year's All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. The Galahs defeated County Meath 3-16 to 1-10 at Croke Park, and then defeated County Mayo 2-12 to 2-5. The following year, Beitzel organised a second series, the Australian Football World Tour, in which an Australian representative team played six matches against Gaelic sides London, Dublin, Meath, Kerry, and New York. In 1968, Meath visited Australia for a five-match tour, winning all the games by an aggregate score of 26-43 to 3-29. The feature game of the tour was their victorious rematch with the Galahs at Princes Park in Melbourne. Kerry also won all their games when they toured Australia in 1970. Beitzel returned in October 1978 and his team played UCD, Dublin and Kerry. It wasn’t until after Australian schoolboy teams toured Ireland in 1981 and 1984 and a Dublin Colleges team toured Australia in 1983 that a full-blown international rules series was arranged.
During the 1980s, at times both teams wore sleeveless Aussie Rules jumpers, with the Australians in a sleeveless yellow (gold) Aussie Rules styled jumper and Ireland at times wore a green sleeveless jumper with a white trim. Prime minister Bob Hawke and wife Hazel toured Ireland with the Australian team in 1987.
|17 November 1990||Australia||Australia 59 d. Ireland 44||WACA||Perth||7,700|
|10 November 1990||Australia||Australia 59 d. Ireland 21||Bruce Stadium||Canberra||7,000|
|2 November 1990||Australia||Ireland 47 d. Australia 46||Waverley Park||Melbourne||18,332|
|1 November 1987||Ireland||Australia 59 d. Ireland 55||Croke Park||Dublin||27,023|
|25 October 1987||Ireland||Australia 72 d. Ireland 47||Croke Park||Dublin||15,485|
|18 October 1987||Ireland||Ireland 53 d. Australia 52||Croke Park||Dublin||15,532|
|24 October 1986||Australia||Australia 55 d. Ireland 32||Football Park||Adelaide||10,000|
|19 October 1986||Australia||Australia 62 d. Ireland 46||Waverley Park||Melbourne||10,883|
|10 October 1986||Australia||Australia 64 d. Ireland 57||WACA||Perth||24,000|
|4 November 1984||Ireland||Australia 76 d. Ireland 71||Croke Park||Dublin||32,318|
|28 October 1984||Ireland||Australia 100 d. Ireland 62||Croke Park||Dublin||12,500|
|21 October 1984||Ireland||Australia 70 d. Ireland 57||Páirc Uí Chaoimh||Cork||8,000|
International Rules Series
The current senior International Rules Series is played twice every three years in October, after the completion of the AFL Grand Final and the All-Ireland Football Championship Final, both of which are played in late September.
The International Rules Series alternates host countries each year between Ireland and Australia. Between 1998 and 2006, the average attendance was 48,199. Ireland had won eight matches, while Australia had also won eight, with a further two being drawn. The 2006 International Rules series sold out both matches in Ireland and set a record for international sports in Ireland with a crowd of 82,127 at Croke Park.
Following controversies in the 2006 series, including the knocking unconscious of an Irish player in a tackle, the Irish team coach and GAA President again cast doubts on the future of the series. The AFL's chief, however expressed optimism. The two organisations agreed to meet to once again discuss the series.
The International Rules Series resumed in October 2008 with Ireland defeating the Australians by five points on aggregate (the series was played in Australia).
While ladies' Gaelic football has been growing almost exponentially since the 1970s, Aussie women's footy has far fewer players, though numbers have grown strongly since the 1990s. In early 2006, representatives of the Ladies' Gaelic Football Association and Women's Australian Football Leagues met at a Ladies' Gaelic football festival in Singapore, and agreed to compete in the hybrid version of the two football codes to coincide with the senior men's series.
|31 October 2006||Ireland 6.26.16 (134) def. Australia 1.2.3 (15)||Breffni Park||Cavan|||
|4 November 2006||Ireland 3.5.6 (39) def. Australia 0.4.6 (18)||Parnell Park||Dublin|||
Juniors (under 17s and under 19s)
Among the first schoolboys' international tests was that played in Melbourne in 1983, when a Victorian under-17 team played Ireland. An interesting twist in these compromise matches is that the ball used was the oval shaped Australian football rather than the round ball.
In 2005, in addition to the annual senior international series, Australia and Ireland began to play an under-19 and under-17 contest. Australia won the 2006 series. The junior series was largely instituted by both leagues as a means to identify emerging talent. It has since been abandoned.
The Australian Amateur Football Council has sent an amateur All-Australian team to Ireland in both 2005 and 2008. Unlike the professional vs amateur matches between the AFL and GAA, these matches are fully amateur which has typically meant stronger Irish sides. The Australian amateur team wears a different jersey to the AFL representative side, dark green and gold, with a kangaroo emblem.
|2008||Ireland 60 def. Australia (U-23) 55||Donaghmore-Ashbourne stadium||Ashbourne, County Meath||2,500|||
|2008||Sydney AFL 43 def. NSWGAA 42||Mahoney Park||Marrickville, New South Wales|||
International rules also has a masters category with several competitions. There is also a Masters International Rules Series which follows the format of the senior men's series and involves many retired Australian Rules and Gaelic Football players.
International rules football around the world
International rules is played in various locations throughout North America and the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand between fledgling Australian rules football and Gaelic football clubs.
In 2006, an exhibition match between South African youth teams and an Indigenous Australian touring side composed of players from the Clontarf Foundation, led by Sydney's Adam Goodes, was held at Potchefstroom.
Malmö, Sweden: 23 October 2010 saw the inaugural International Rules Test between Malmö Gaelic Football team (2009 Scandinavian Champions) & Aussie Rules side The Port Malmö Maulers (2009 DAFL Champions). The game was played in great spirit despite the cold damp conditions at Limhamnsfältet where the GAA boys and Maulers share the pitch. The Gaelic Footballers of Malmö GAA Club ended up winners on a scoreline of: Malmö GAA Club 5:6:7 = 55 pts Port Malmo Maulers 1:5:9 = 30 pts
The University of Birmingham, UK holds an annual International Rules match between its Australian Rules football team and its Gaelic Football team. The 2012 edition was won comprehensively by the Gaelic Football team, with the 2013 edition won by the Australian Rules team 56-55, before a crowd of over 400 students.
- Australian rules football
- Composite rules shinty-hurling
- Gaelic football
- International Rules Series
- Jim Stynes Medal
- "History of International Rules Football". Retrieved 18 April 2008.
- Heaney, Paddy (23 October 2008). "The rules of engagement: A brief guide". The Irish News. p. 58.
- Rule changes for International series agreed; 25 January 2006
- Heaney, Paddy (23 October 2008). "Time for talk is over". The Irish News. p. 58.
- "Breffni Park hosts first-ever women’s International Rules tie". Irish Examiner. 2006-10-31. Retrieved 2009-10-26.
- "Brave Aussie ladies like ewes to the slaughter in Ireland". World Footy News. 2006-11-14. Retrieved 2013-5-22.
- "Image A6180, 29/7/83/11". National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 6 January 2008.
- "Australia win decider in youth IR series". Retrieved 6 January 2008.
- "Aussie Rules claim victory against Gaelic Football". University of Birmingham. 6 June 20013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- Brief guide on how to play the game
- International rules pages at the Gaelic Athletic Association website
- International rules pages at the AFL website
- WFN international rules A catalogue of some of the scores of games in the code around the world.
- Laws of the game
- International rules page at Aussie Rules International
- Tarik's International Rules football results and rankings