2011 International Rules Series

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2011 International Rules Series
EventInternational Rules Series
130–65 on aggregate, Ireland win series 2–0
First test
Date28 October 2011
VenueEtihad Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria
RefereeRay Chamberlain (Australia)
David Coldrick (Ireland)
Second test
Date4 November 2011
VenueMetricon Stadium, Gold Coast, Queensland
RefereeRay Chamberlain (Australia)
David Coldrick (Ireland)

The 2011 International Rules Series (officially the 2011 Toyota International Rules Series) was the 16th International Rules Series contested between Gaelic footballers from Ireland and Australian rules footballers from Australia. The series was played over two test matches, with Ireland winning the series by 130-65 points on aggregate. In doing so, Ireland achieved their greatest ever winning test margin (in the first test) and greatest ever series victory, whilst Australia had their lowest ever test score in the second test. The Australian Football League (AFL) announced part of the schedule for the series in June 2011, with Etihad Stadium in Melbourne chosen for the first test match.[1] In July, the AFL announced that Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast would be the venue for the second test.[2] This was the first time that any stadium in the state of Queensland hosted an international rules game. The first test was played on 28 October, while the second test was played one week later on 4 November.


Network Ten and its multi-channel affiliate One HD broadcast this year's series to Australian audiences.[3] The first test match was delayed in all metropolitan areas of Australia, while the second test was broadcast live to Melbourne and Sydney audiences and delayed elsewhere.[4] Irish-language channel TG4 broadcast the series live in Ireland, while mainstream English-language network RTÉ showed an hourly highlights show as was the case for the 2010 series in Ireland.[5]


Irish team[edit]

Former Derry Gaelic footballer Anthony Tohill returned as Ireland manager after the series loss in 2010. He was joined on the coaching and selection staff by Eoin Liston (Kerry), Kevin O’Brien (Wicklow), Seán Óg de Paor (Galway) and Kieran McGeeney (Armagh), all former international rules players.[6] On 12 October, Tohill named 18 players of a 23-man squad (later to become 24) and also confirmed, subject to club commitments, that Stephen Cluxton would be the Ireland captain.[7][8] Four further players were named on 15 October.[9] Current Sydney Swans player Tommy Walsh joined the squad as the last selected player, while Donegal footballer Karl Lacey replaced Darren O'Sullivan in the selected squad due to the latter's club commitments. Doubts remained over the availability of several other players due to club football commitments.[10][11] However, few changes were necessary as Patrick Kelly of Cork was called up to complete the 24 man squad.[12]

Australian team[edit]

Former Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade was named as coach and manager of the Australian team in March.[13] He is joined on the coaching staff by former Richmond footballer Wayne Campbell (selector), as well as former players Andrew McLeod and Brad Johnson, while Collingwood sports science director David Buttifant will be in charge of the team's preparation for the series.[14][15] The Australian team was announced on 13 October minus an announced captain or leadership squad. The team is made up of talented young players aged around 20–24, yet only four players (David Wojcinski, Stephen Milne, Brad Green and James Frawley) have any prior senior international rules experience.[16] Melbourne footballer Colin Sylvia was initially selected in the team, but was withdrawn due to inappropriate off-field behavior, diminishing the Australian squad to 23.[17]

Brad Green, the captain of the Melbourne Football Club, was announced as the captain of Australia on 25 October. The announcement was leaked via Max Gawn on Twitter before the official AFL announcement was made.[18] James Kelly, Andrew Swallow and James Frawley were all named as vice-captains.[19]


Australia Australia Republic of Ireland Ireland
Name Team Position Name Team Position
Rodney Eade Western Bulldogs Coach Anthony Tohill Derry Coach
18. Brad Green Melbourne Captain 1. Stephen Cluxton Dublin Captain (Goalkeeper)
8. James Frawley Melbourne Vice Captain 18. Ciaran McKeever Armagh Vice Captain
9. James Kelly Geelong Cats Vice Captain 9. Pearce Hanley Brisbane Lions
4. Andrew Swallow North Melbourne Vice Captain 4. Eoin Cadogan Cork
31. Matt Suckling Hawthorn Goalkeeper 6. Kieran Donaghy Kerry
15. Robbie Gray Port Adelaide 7. Leighton Glynn Wicklow
28. Jake King Richmond 8. Finian Hanley Galway
21. Ben McGlynn Sydney Swans 3. Emmet Bolton Kildare
13. Trent McKenzie Gold Coast Suns 11. Darren Hughes Monaghan
44. Stephen Milne St Kilda 14. Tadhg Kennelly Sydney Swans
6. Angus Monfries Essendon 16. Steven McDonnell Armagh
16. Robin Nahas Richmond 19. Kevin McKernan Down
7. Mark Nicoski West Coast Eagles 20. Joe McMahon Tyrone
11. Mitch Robinson Carlton 21. Neil McGee Donegal
3. Liam Shiels Hawthorn 23. Michael Murphy Donegal
2. Zac Smith Gold Coast Suns 15. Karl Lacey** Donegal
5. Shaun Grigg Richmond 27. Kevin Reilly Meath
26. Richard Douglas Adelaide 30. Aidan Walsh Cork
10. Jack Trengove Melbourne 28. Zach Tuohy Carlton
17. Bernie Vince Adelaide 2. Colm Begley Laois
14. Callan Ward GWS Giants 22. Brendan Murphy Carlow
40. David Wojcinski Geelong Cats 5. Eamonn Callaghan Kildare
29. Easton Wood Western Bulldogs 31. Tommy Walsh Sydney Swans
24. Joel Patfull Brisbane Lions 13. Patrick Kelly Cork

**These players replaced other players initially selected in the squad who withdrew from the series due to club football commitments

The following players withdrew from the series: Darran O'Sullivan (Kerry - GAA), Colin Sylvia (Melbourne - AFL)

† Jake King was injured in the first test and was replaced for the second test by Joel Patfull


2011 International Rules Series – Test 1
Friday, 28 October 2011 Australia def. by Ireland Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria (Crowd: 22,921)
0.1.1 (4)
1.4.2 (20)
1.5.5 (26)
1.8.6 (36)
1.5.1 (22)
2.9.5 (44)
2.14.5 (59)
4.17.5 (80)
Umpires: Ray Chamberlain (Australia) & David Coldrick (Ireland)
Television broadcast: TBA
Green Goals Glynn, Callaghan,
Milne 2, Douglas, Nahas, Robinson, Gray, Monfries, Green Overs McDonnell 4, T. Walsh 3, Donaghy 2, McKernan 2, M. Murphy 2, Glynn 2, Kennelly, B. Murphy
Milne, Vince, Douglas, Kelly, Green Best McDonnell, Cluxton, Hanley, Donaghy, T. Walsh, Kennelly
King (knee), Shiels (thigh) Injuries Bolton (concussion), Donaghy (calf)

The opening test of the series was played at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium, the second time the venue had hosted an international rules game, the previous match occurring in 2005. In front of a rather disappointing crowd of 22,921, Ireland outclassed their Australian opponents by a record 44 point margin. The margin was the greatest in the history of the series, eclipsing the 38 point win Australian win in the second test of the 2006 Series.[20] Ireland's score of 80 points was also the biggest Irish score in the history of the series, whilst Australia's 36 points was the lowest Australian score since 1990.

Ireland skipped away to a quick lead, scoring 4 'overs' and 1 goal before Australia managed a major score. Leading by 18 points at the first break, Ireland increased their lead in the second quarter and dominated Australia in general possession. The home side were fortunate to receive their first goal of the series, with captain Brad Green making the most of an uncharacteristic error from Irish skipper and goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton. The third quarter briefly erupted with a spotfire as Ireland's Kevin Reilly approached the Australian huddle after a break in play as a result of a concussion to Emmet Bolton. The ensuing fight was largely harmless and no player was reported or sent off. Australia failed to threaten despite some improved possession in the midfield, as Ireland scored 5 overs to 1 in the quarter. The fourth quarter showcased some more classic Irish skill, with goals to Leighton Glynn and Kieran Donaghy extending the margin into record territory.[21]

Ireland manager Anthony Tohill stated post-match that the experience of Ireland's AFL players was "huge" and instrumental in the win,[22] whilst his opposite number Rodney Eade lamented his side's lack of physicality, stating that the Australians were "too nice" in attempting to maintain the spirit of the game. He praised the "sensational kicking skills" of the Irish team and promised a more physical Australian side for the second test.[23]

2011 International Rules Series – Test 2
Friday, 4 November 2011 Australia def. by Ireland Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast, Queensland (Crowd: 12,545)
0.2.2 (8)
0.6.5 (23)
0.6.6 (24)
0.7.8 (29)
0.3.3 (12)
1.8.4 (34)
1.10.5 (41)
1.13.5 (50)
Umpires: Ray Chamberlain (Australia) & David Coldrick (Ireland)
Television broadcast: TBA
Nil Goals Glynn
Smith 3, Green 2, McGlynn, Robinson Overs McDonnell 3, T.Walsh 3, Donaghy 2, M.Murphy 2, Kennelly, Callaghan, McMahon
Kelly, Frawley, Smith, Vince Best Walsh, Begley, Kennelly, McDonnell
Nil Injuries Nil
  • Ireland win series 130–65 on aggregate

Jake King of Australia was ruled out prior the second test with a knee injury that would also disrupt his pre-season training for Richmond.[24] Brisbane Lions footballer Joel Patfull replaced him in the side[25] Another disappointing crowd of 12,545 attended the match, making the cumulative crowd of approximately 35,000 one of the lowest in series history. Ireland were far superior for the duration of the match, leading at every quarter and pulling away thanks to a clever goal from Leighton Glynn in the second quarter.[26]

Trailing by 11 points at half time, Australia managed just one over for the rest of the match, as Ireland's superior finishing skills proved decisive again. The third quarter descended into virtual madness however, with several minor fights and scuffles very nearly turning into genuine brawls. In total, five players were yellow carded (sent off for 10 minutes) in a spiteful third quarter. Ireland rapped up the test in the last quarter, finishing with three overs to one and recording a 21-point test match win, and a 65-point series victory (130-65 on aggregate).[27]

Whilst continual speculation remained over the immediate future of the series, on account of supposed Australian apathy in terms of crowd attendance and player interest, GAA director general Paraic Duffy announced that the series would resume as planned in the years 2013 and 2014.[28] In relation to this series however, Geelong premiership midfielder James Kelly was awarded the Jim Stynes Medal[29] for being Australia's best player, whilst dual All-Ireland and AFL Premiership medallist Tadhg Kennelly won the GAA Medal for being the Irish player of the series.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Australia to face Ireland in international rulest Test at Etihad Stadium in October;
  2. ^ Irish test set for Metricon Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine;
  3. ^ Witham, Jennifer (14 October 2011). "Cool Cats lead young Aussies". Archived from the original on 20 October 2011.
  4. ^ Broadcast Guide Archived 2011-10-14 at the Wayback Machine;
  5. ^ International Rules Sponsors Confirmed Archived 2010-06-04 at the Wayback Machine;
  6. ^ Tohill names preliminary Rules panel;
  7. ^ "Cluxton's vow of silence is no issue for Tohill". Irish Independent. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Cluxton & Kennelly named in Ireland squad". RTÉ Sport. 12 October 2011. Archived from the original on 12 October 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  9. ^ Laois duo among four added to Irish IRS squad;
  10. ^ "Donegal's Karl Lacey added to Ireland Rules squad". BBC Sport Northern Ireland. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  11. ^ "'I don't understand why this can't be avoided. You might only get one chance to play for your country'". Irish Times=accessdate=19 October 2011. 19 October 2011.
  12. ^ Kelly called up to Ireland squad Archived 2011-10-22 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Eade to coach Australia against Ireland Archived 2011-06-26 at the Wayback Machine;
  14. ^ "Zac Smith to get goal role for the International Rules Tests against Ireland". Herald Sun. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Ward set for Irish test". AFL.com.au. 13 October 2011. Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  16. ^ Callan Ward named in Aussie squad;
  17. ^ Police quiz Sylvia after crash Archived 2011-10-24 at the Wayback Machine;
  18. ^ Green honoured to be Aussie skipper
  19. ^ Green to lead Aussies
  20. ^ Ireland romps home Archived 2011-10-29 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Ireland roll over pathetic Aussies
  22. ^ AFL experience huge: Tohill Archived 2011-10-29 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Aussies 'too nice' Archived 2011-10-29 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ King out of second IR match
  25. ^ In no doubt Archived 2011-11-04 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Irish rules Archived 2011-11-06 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ Ireland's domination complete
  28. ^ Duffy announces agreement on intention to hold further series in 2013 and '14
  29. ^ Rules may need luck of Irish to survive
  30. ^ Tadhg's jig may not be up Archived 2011-11-07 at the Wayback Machine