2006 International Rules Series

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2006 International Rules Series
Event International Rules Series
Australia win series 109–79 on aggregate
First test
Date 28 October 2006
Venue Pearse Stadium, Galway, Salthill

Pat McEnaney (Ireland)

Shane McInerney (Australia)
Attendance 35,000
Second test
Date 5 November 2006
Venue Croke Park, Dublin, Dublin City

David Coldrick (Ireland)

Shane McInerney (Australia)
Attendance 82,127 (Sell Out)

The 2006 International Rules Series (officially the 2006 Coca-Cola International Rules Series) was the 13th annual International Rules Series and was played between Ireland and Australia.

The 2006 series involved two sell-out test matches, the first in Galway and the second in Dublin. Both of the matches were a landmark occasion for the International Rules Series and Irish sport; the Galway test was the first international rules series match to be played under floodlights in Ireland and the first match to be played outside Dublin, whilst the attendance for the second test was the largest in the history of international sport in Ireland.[1]

Both tests were again controversial due to the off-field actions of the Australian team and the on-field actions of both teams, as well as injury to several players from both sides.



First test[edit]

Graham Geraghty was cited for a knee to the head of Australia's Lindsay Gilbee.

Off field controversy also dominated the series. Brendan Fevola's assault of an Irish barman which resulted in his being sent home from the Australian tour in the series brought the series into question for the behaviour and laid-back attitude which the professional Australian players have towards the series.[2]

Second test[edit]

A tackle by Australia's Danyle Pearce on Ireland's Graham Geraghty in the second test left Geraghty unconscious and requiring hospitalisation. The act was considered a "square up", further adding tensions to the series. Despite several on-field incidents, including a shirtfront by Adam Selwood which resulted in the broken nose of an Irish opponent and a headbutt to Australia's Ryan O'Keefe which left his face bloodied, red cards were not used and the actions were cleared by the match review panels.

Irish Coach Sean Boylan publicly blamed thuggery and refereeing for Ireland's loss to Australia and called for the series to be scrapped. In December, 2006, the Gaelic Athletic Association decided not to participate in the series any further unless the Australians agreed to abide by a code of conduct and more strict rules regarding tackling.[2]

Jim Stynes Medal[edit]

Ryan O'Keefe was awarded the Jim Stynes Medal.[2]


Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland Flag of Australia.svg Australia
Name Team Position Name Team Position
Sean Boylan Meath Coach Kevin Sheedy Essendon Coach
Paul Barden Longford Chance Bateman Hawthorn
Colm Begley Brisbane and Laois Campbell Brown Hawthorn
Joe Bergin Galway Ryan Crowley Fremantle
Alan Brogan Dublin Aaron Davey Melbourne
Sean Cavanagh Tyrone Nick Davis Sydney
Rónán Clarke Armagh Brendan Fevola Carlton
Brendan Coulter Down Samuel Fisher St Kilda
Kieran Donaghy Kerry Dustin Fletcher (c) Essendon Goalkeeper
Dermot Early Kildare Lindsay Gilbee Western Bulldogs
Kieran Fitzgerald Galway Brendon Goddard St Kilda
Paul Galvin Kerry Barry Hall (c) Sydney
Graham Geraghty Meath Graham Johncock Adelaide
Tom Kelly Laois Matthew Lappin Carlton
Tadhg Kennelly (vc) Sydney and Kerry James McDonald Melbourne
Karl Lacey Donegal David Mundy Fremantle
Seán Marty Lockhart Derry Ryan O'Keefe Sydney
Steven McDonnell Armagh Brett Peake Fremantle
Kieran McGeeney (c) Armagh Danyle Pearce Port Adelaide
Anthony Moyles Meath Andrew Raines Richmond
Nicholas Murphy Cork Adam Schneider Sydney
Aidan O'Mahony Kerry Adam Selwood West Coast
Marc Ó Sé Kerry Justin Sherman Brisbane
Alan Quirke Cork Kade Simpson Carlton
Kevin Reilly Meath Brent Stanton Essendon
Shane Ryan Dublin Michael Voss Brisbane


First test[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland 0.5.1 0.6.3 0.8.5 1.12.6 (48)
Flag of Australia.svg Australia 0.1.1 0.4.2 1.8.3 1.9.7 (40)
Ireland won by 8
Date Saturday, 28 October 2006
Scoring (IRL) Goals: Bergin

Overs: McDonnell 4, Barden, Begley, Bergin, Brogan, Cavanagh, Earley, Geraghty, Kennelly

Scoring (AUS) Goals: O'Keefe

Overs: O'Keefe 3, Davis 2, Hall 2, Davey, Lappin

Best IRL: Kelly, McDonnell, Fitzgerald, Bergin, McGeeney, Brogan

AUS: Lappin, O'Keefe, Fletcher, Sherman, Hall, Davis

Injuries Nil
Venue Pearse Stadium, Galway, County Galway
Attendance 35,000
Umpires Pat McEnaney (Ireland)
Shane McInerney (Australia)
Video RTÉ Broadcast of the 1st Test (YouTube)
RTÉ Match report

Second test[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland 0.3.1 0.4.4 0.5.5 0.7.10 (31)
Flag of Australia.svg Australia 1.3.1 1.6.3 3.11.6 3.15.6 (69)
Australia won by 38
Date Sunday, 5 November 2006
Scoring (IRL) Goals: -

Overs: Brogan 2, Earley 2, McDonnell 2, Coulter

Scoring (AUS) Goals: Crowley, Goddard, Stanton

Overs: Hall 4, Sherman 3, O'Keefe 2, Pearce 2, Bateman, Davey, Davis, Goddard

Best IRL: Kelly, Lockhart, Cavanagh, Moyles, Coulter, McDonnell
AUS: Pearce, Sherman, O'Keefe, Hall, Fletcher, Davey
Injuries IRL: Geraghty (concussion)
AUS: Brown (hand/lower back), Crowley (knee)
Venue Croke Park, Dublin, County Dublin
Attendance 82,127
Umpires David Coldrick (Ireland)
Shane McInerney (Australia)
Video RTÉ Broadcast of the 2nd Test (YouTube)
RTÉ Match report

Women's series[edit]

The 2006 International Rules Series was also the first (and currently only) to also feature a women's series between an Irish team created by the Ladies' Gaelic Football Association and a touring Australian team created by Women's Football Australia. The series was won by Ireland, who recorded a thumping 119-point win in the first test before registering a narrower 19-point win in the second test.[3]

First test[edit]

Team Score[3]
Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland 6.26.16 (134)
Flag of Australia.svg Australia 1.2.3 (15)
Ireland won by 119

Second test[edit]

Team Score[3]
Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland 3.5.6 (39)
Flag of Australia.svg Australia 0.4.6 (18)
Ireland won by 19

The first test match was played at Breffni Park in Cavan and the second test match was played at Parnell Park in Dublin.[4] Importantly, the Australian-style tackle was not allowed in the series, presenting a serious impediment to the Australian team. Furthermore, at the time in 2006, women's Gaelic football vastly outnumbered women's Australian rules football, with over 100,000 female participants playing Gaelic football in Ireland and less than 20,000 females playing Australian football in Australia. As of 2016, that Australian number has more than trebled and a semi-professional national women's league has been inaugurated, suggesting any future contest between the two nations would be significantly closer.[3][4]


The 2006 series is remembered as a significant turning point in the history of international rules football. The physicality and occasional violence in the second test marred the entire contest between the two nations and resulted in the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) abandoning the planned 2007 series and only agreeing to resume following a significant change to the game's code of conduct. On the pitch, Ireland manager Seán Boylan had to be convinced by his players not to abandon play at the end of the first, so serious was the off-the-ball meleeing. The sling tackle which resulted in a serious concussion to Ireland player Graham Geraghty and forced play to stop in the first quarter dominated discussion post-match, whilst the trading of barbs and insults between the teams was prolific both before and after the final test.[6]

No player was later sanctioned by the Australian Football League (AFL) and GAA following the series, though a number of yellow cards (send-offs) were issued to players by both referees. The series would later go on to be ranked 10th by the Irish public in the one-off television program 20 Moments That Shook Irish Sport. Despite eventually returning in 2008, the International Rules Series struggled to maintain a place on the annual Irish and Australian sporting calendars, and it is worth noting that the no test match since has come remotely close to the rivalling the sell-out crowd 82,000 who attended the second test match on a Sunday afternoon at Croke Park.[5][6][7] Others editorialised that the disgruntlement in the series demonstrated a difference in cultural values regarding aspects of the Indigenous Gaelic and Australian games such as umpiring methods and types of physicality deemed tolerable in the two sports.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Aussies thump Ireland to retain trophy". RTÉ. 5 November 2006. The hybrid game has always had its detractors, and the heavy-handed tactics that Kevin Sheedy’s victors deployed in front of 82,127 Croke Park spectators – a record crowd for an international fixture held on Irish soil – will only add to their number. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Ireland v. Australia: 2006". Footy Stats. Various sources. 7 November 2006. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Brave Aussie ladies like ewes to the slaughter in Ireland". World Footy News. 13 November 2006. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Reliving the one and only Women’s International Rules series 10 years on". Girls Play Footy. 15 November 2016. Archived from the original on 16 March 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c "Sounds of Summer: International Rules Series". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 3 January 2007. 
  6. ^ a b "No holds barred: the explosive 2006 tests that changed the future of International Rules". The42.ie. 19 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "No.10 - The 2006 Compromise Rules: The scrap in Croke Park that threatened to scrap Compromise Rules". RTÉ. 27 September 2007. 
  8. ^ "Editorial: Clash of cultures jeopardises IR series". World Footy News. 11 November 2006.