GAA worries about Australian player poaching…

Hard not to have some sympathy with the Ulster Council of the GAA when they voted for the ending of the International Rules tests between Ireland and Australia… The reason: the exposure is encouraging professional Aussie Rules clubs to run off with the best young GAA talent… I suspect though that it will fall of deaf ears… Australian money and the amateur status of GAA are the real problem… Simply cutting the international tournaments are not likely to see that problem off any time soon now the Australian clubs have had a taste of fresh Irish talent…

  • Archbishop Delaney

    The amateur status of GAA is one of its greatest strengths, actually.
    If young players want to move abroad for work reasons then fair play to them, it was ever thus. Many parishes were cleaned out in the 50’s and the 80’s when all the young men left for the States and elsewhere. Niall Quinn and Kevin Moran transferred to soccer, a good few of todays professional Rugby players started out in the GAA. I believe a certain Padraig Harrington has a strong GAA pedigree but swapped codes to good effect. So what? It’s a community based sport – professionalism would be a cancer, not a cure. Suggesting that amateurism is a problem sounds suspiciously like mischief making.

  • J O’Donovan

    The Aussies Rules mob should stay down under. The tests were good when they began with Ron barassi and the Co Meath team. But enough is enough. Time for Direct Action against Ockers to step up to the plate? Legitimate targets and al lthat\/

  • fin

    surely not the sport commonly known as “bog ball” by several posters on slugger.
    Its not just the players coaching staff get recruited to train kickers in Rugby Union (Johnny Wilkinson is one)and I believe American football has poached a few.

  • Realist

    As long as they’re eligible for Aussie Rules, what’s the problem?

    It would be wrong to deny GAA players the choice to switch.

  • abucs

    I’d prefer the GAA stays amateur as well.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Irish sporting organisation worries that southerners are going to nick their players? It all sounds very familiar…

  • Alan

    “Irish sporting organisation worries that southerners are going to nick their players? It all sounds very familiar…”

    Not really.

    Do Irish citizens automatically qualify by birth for Australian citizenship ?

    Do the Australian and Ireland teams pick from one pool of players in Rugby Union?

    Ireland and Australia operate on an all island basis in every sport – apart from the ‘Billy boys’ in Windsor Avenue.

    go on, go on !!!

    Gonzo stick to your derelict soccer grounds in the arse of mid ulster or north Belfast and let the biggest sport in Ireland worry about itself.

  • skullion

    Good luck to young lads who decide to try Aussie Rules.Listening to the Ulster Council one would think that scores of players have left to go to Australia.Off the top of my head i can only think of three or players who have moved successfully to Aussie Rules.

  • iluvni

    Why are the Ulster Council worrying about losing talent to Australia, when they deliberately exclude so many potential local players from their sport due to their support for Republican terrorist ‘heroes’?

  • The Reincarnation of Paul Revere’s Horse

    How many players on senior Irish IR teams have gone on to play in the AFL, I believe that to be none. They stopped the U-19 games for the poaching reasons. Scrapping the senior game wont change anything.

    Richard Nixon is a recruiting agent for the AFL based in Ireland. He actively runs camps and scouts players during the GAA season. Australian interest in GAA players wont go away just because the IR is stopped.

    Also, its not as big a drain on GAA players as rugby has been. I currently can count 5 former GAA players currently in the AFL,

    1. Setanta O’hAilpin (Cork)
    2. Brendan Murphy (Carlow)
    3. Colm Begley (Laois)
    4. Pierce Hanley (Mayo)
    5. Martin Clarke (Down)

    While im not a big fan of this mutant game, it has on occassion produced some good football, but for me it just doesnt work. I’d rather they just played a game of both Australian Rules and Gaelic Football.

  • skullion


    Perhaps you would like to name them

  • Ron Barassi

    Paul Rever’s Horse

    You missed Tadgh Keneally, the most successful Irish AFL player of recent years, having won a Premiership with Sydney. Although Martin Clarke has the makings of a superstar.

    And O’hAilpin’s time might be almost up – he recently made big news by assaulting a teammate in a practice match. Apparently he has ‘temperament issues’.

  • skullion

    Ron i think you’ll find quite a few sportsmen from cork have ‘temperament issues’

  • iluvni


    You want the list of clubs, tropheys and competitions named in honour of Republican terrorists listed here yet again?

  • skullion

    Just give me half a dozen clubs

  • iluvni

    Why half a dozen?…even 1 named after a terrorist should be too many for the GAA and its followers.

  • Six Of The Best

    Go on iluvni, name all 6. How did you do on naming all 32 counties BTW? Naming things can be both fun and informative.

  • dipper

    I don’t think the UC have much to worry about. Aussie Rules has to compete with RU, RL, a revamped soccer scene, cricket and the rest of the outdoor stuff. OK Aussies are sports-mad but the cake is being finely sliced.

    GF is becoming a pro sport, the Cork hurlers are moving this along; and in 10 years I doubt there will be much financial incentive to go around the world.

    Aussie Rules is a harder sport than GF. A rules historian would be quick to point out that the games get softer all the time. So skill levels have to increase. In this regard GF is more advanced than AR. There are expansion routes available to GF, and it is a better game to play and watch IMO.

    Hard-bitten Victoria farmhands are a dying breed; Aussie Rules has nowhere to go, that’s why it looked to the GAA in the first place. It’s only advantage is a small, but declining, financial incentive. The GAA should engage, watch, learn, and move on.

  • CW

    You’ll always have the committed players like Sean Cavanagh who will put their own county first and endure the training sesions in the cold, wet Irish winters rather than embark on a potentially lucrative career in the sun down under. Having said that, it’s probably the weaker counties who are more at risk from the poaching. An exceptionally gifted Wicklow or Carlow player isn’t likely to win much with his own county, so moving down under will be more appealing than it would to a Tyrone or Kerry player.

  • The Reincarnation of Paul Revere’s Horse

    RE: Ron Barassi,

    Please note I said “currently in the AFL”.

    RE: Dipper,

    I really cant see the GAA ever being professional as it currently exists. It just wouldnt be sustainable. You might need to lose a few teams.

    Unless it got a wider TV audience outside Ireland and the TV networks came running with millions. But I just dont see that happening. Im not aware of any huge numbers new followers with it shown on Setanta.

    I think most people in the GAA look at the plight of Association Football and the teams

  • Mark McGregor


    I’ll start the list – Queen’s

  • dantheman

    Lol, QUEEN’s University GAA team.

    Why would the GAA want to name their club after a sectarian monarch, and a leading proponent of state sponsored terror to boot???

  • Mark McGregor

    Are we doing this list or not?

    2. PSNI

  • RosleaNaEireann

    Can’t you just ban these unionist Northern Ireland Soccer bigots from disrupting a topic about the BIGGEST sport on the island of Ireland.

    As for the topic at hand,it’s an unnecessary step taken by the Ulster Council. Yes we will lose an odd player to the AFL, however as we have seen with Sean Cavanagh, Kyle Coney and Cavan’s Nicholas Walshe, not all will either make it or wish to participate in trials for that sport.

    We lose more to soccer every year, Tyrone starlet Niall McGinn being an example.

    I hope we see an International rules match in Irelands second city in 2011.

  • skullion


    Interesting to note the views of Mickey Harte on the Rules series,somewhat at odds with Sean Cavanagh.I can’t see there being any chance of a truly international competition.For my own part i really enjoy it and it gives some of our gratest players a chance to play for their country.