Irish boss blasts series detractors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Irish boss blasts series detractors

By Roger Vaughan 01/11/2008 01:26:42 PM Comments (0)

Irish international rules boss Nickey Brennan has hit out against the series' detractors, saying the two teams deserved great credit for what they had produced.

Ireland beat Australia by four points in the second Test Friday night at the MCG to reclaim the Cormac McAnallen Trophy.

The series is now certain to continue this time next year in Ireland, given the lack of on-field violence in these two Tests.

Furious Irish officials cancelled last year's series because of incidents during the 2005 and '06 matches and the future of the concept was at stake this time.

While the series has far from universal appeal in Ireland and Australia, Brennan said the quality of last week's match in Perth and the MCG game had shown the compromised game's true potential.

"Anybody who didn't see this series in a positive light ... we have those in Ireland, as you well know, who are not pro the series anyway - they have them here, too," said Brennan, the Gaelic Athletic Association president.

"As far as (Friday night) is concerned, we simply have to just ignore their views, because they're not going to see a positive in it, probably.

"But anybody who would watch this series, see the efforts of the players on both sides, would have to commend them for what they've done here.

"Yes, there will be some begrudgers, but let's push them aside for once."

AFL officials were also delighted with the series, but its future hinged more on how well it was received in Ireland.

"It's fair to say, doubts are dispelled after (Friday night)," Brennan said.

He praised Australian coach Mick Malthouse in particular for ensuring his players curbed their natural instinct for fierce physical pressure.

Malthouse in turn was unhappy Australia lost the two Tests, but expressed pride in his team and wants the job again.

This was the first time the Collingwood coach had been in charge of the Australian international rules side.

"We are ... bitterly disappointed that we gave too much of a start on both occasions and couldn't get over the line," he said.

"But on the other side, I am very, very proud of a group of men who by instinct in our game will shepherd, will be more than vigorous in some tackles.

"They held back that instinct for the betterment of this game ... they curtailed the instinct that they've been raised with.

"I commend them on their ability to play within the rules."

He added it was critical the Australians continued to play within the spirit of the rules and said the fans would decide if the series had a long-term future.

Less than 43,000 were at the MCG on Friday night, although rain undoubtedly affected that figure.

Malthouse also agreed that some more work was needed on the hybrid game's rules, with too many interchange players on Friday night having little or nothing to do.

The two teams had 15 on the field and up to 10 on the bench and Malthouse said the large interchange was "not quite right".

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