Contributed by: Peter Parry Saturday, October 17 2009 @ 09:33 pm ACDT
An interesting article[*1] in the Irish Times notes the absence of the International Rules series this northern autumn and how it has left a hole in the GAA calendar. The AFL pulling out of this year's planned series, despite it being the GAA's 125th anniversary year, came as a shock in the emerald isle. In the article Sean Moran goes on to analyse the reasons and implications, including how as the game "softened" in attempts to rein in the perceived over physicality of the Aussies, maintaining AFL fans' interest became more difficult.
Nonetheless as WFN stories show, IR matches continue to tick over at women's, masters' and amateur club level around the globe. And the 2008 series[*2] seemed to come up with the best refinement of rules thus far for bringing out skillful, competitive play on both sides. Perhaps the hybrid is slowly fading or maybe it is simply lying dormant waiting for another northern autumn or southern spring for interest to bloom again?