2006 International Rules Series
|Event||International Rules Series|
|Australia win series 109–79 on aggregate|
|Date||28 October 2006|
|Venue||Pearse Stadium, Galway, Salthill|
Pat McEnaney (Ireland)Shane McInerney (Australia)
|Date||5 November 2006|
|Venue||Croke Park, Dublin, Dublin City|
David Coldrick (Ireland)Shane McInerney (Australia)
|Attendance||82,127 (Sell Out)|
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.
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: 28 October 2006 at Pearse Stadium, Galway, County Galway, Ireland
- Second test: 5 November 2006 at Croke Park, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
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.
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.
Jim Stynes Medal
- Click here for team squads
- Brendan Fevola was an emergency for the first test, but was sent home before the second game due to public misconduct. He was involved in a fight at a pub.
- Lindsay Gilbee and Sam Fisher only played in the first game, whilst Brett Peake and David Mundy only played in the second test.
|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
|Venue||Pearse Stadium, Galway, County Galway|
|Umpires||Pat McEnaney (Ireland)
Shane McInerney (Australia)
|Video||RTÉ Broadcast of the 1st Test (YouTube)|
|RTÉ Match report|
|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|
|Umpires||David Coldrick (Ireland)
Shane McInerney (Australia)
|Video||RTÉ Broadcast of the 2nd Test (YouTube)|
|RTÉ Match report|
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.
|Ireland won by 119|
|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. 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.
|“||As far as I'm concerned what happened out there in that first quarter today is not acceptable in any code of sport. It's not accepted on the street. How that could be termed as playing within the spirit of the game is beyond me.||”|
|— Seán Boylan, Ireland coach|
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.
|“||Don't get blinded by your passion. I think we won well, and I think it's very hard to win in Ireland, and I think we won because we were fitter. Every time Australia win the series is coming to an end. Unbelievable. You're the greatest conmen I've ever met.||”|
|— Kevin Sheedy, Australian coach|
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. 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.
- International rules football
- Gaelic football
- Australian rules football
- Comparison of Australian rules football and Gaelic football
- "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.
- "Ireland v. Australia: 2006". Footy Stats. Various sources. 7 November 2006.
- "Brave Aussie ladies like ewes to the slaughter in Ireland". World Footy News. 13 November 2006. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013.
- "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.
- "Sounds of Summer: International Rules Series". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 3 January 2007.
- "No holds barred: the explosive 2006 tests that changed the future of International Rules". The42.ie. 19 October 2013.
- "No.10 - The 2006 Compromise Rules: The scrap in Croke Park that threatened to scrap Compromise Rules". RTÉ. 27 September 2007.
- "Editorial: Clash of cultures jeopardises IR series". World Footy News. 11 November 2006.