Ireland ready for 2013 European Aussie Rules Championships
The biggest single event ever in Irish Aussie Rules is nearly upon us. The second AFL Europe Championship will take place at DCU Sportsground, Dublin from August 3rd to 10th. My local club South Dublin Swans will have three players on the 26 man Irish squad, ruckman Paul O’Halloran, defender Shane Liddy and forward Bobby Byrne. Unfortunately I miss out having dislocated my shoulder on May 27th, the championships are probably a week too soon for me to prove my fitness. The Irish Warriors are the reigning champions having won the 2010 tournament in Sweden and then went on to win the 2011 International Cup in the MCG in Melbourne.
The six nations competing are the best Aussie Rules playing nations in Europe. They are Ireland, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Croatia. Ireland are favourites based on current rankings but are expected to be challenged hard for the title by the very consistent Danes and the strong GB and Swedish teams. Both Croatia and Germany are expected to be athletic teams with plenty of height around the oval and could spring a surprise or two. There is clear evidence the rest of Europe is rapidly catching up with Ireland with more players dedicating themselves to the sport. Last September Ireland were fortunate winners of the Euro Cup 9 aside tournament being pushed to the siren by both England and the Danes who somehow lost a game they looked certain to win after a very late goal by Corkman Muiris Bartley. Also this spring at the Surrey Sports Grounds the Great Britain Bulldogs had a convincing win over an understrength Irish team although the result was reversed in the return fixture in Islandbridge in April.
I think this tournament is a great opportunity to showcase Aussie Rules in Ireland. The Irish national team have had some magnificent results on foreign shores in recent years and now there’s a chance for the Irish sporting public to support this winning team. Many people have seen the game on TV but this is a chance to see the game up close.
All tournament news and details can be found at the official website www.dublin2013.org. Anyone wishing to purchase their tickets for the championship can also do so at the official site. Although it looks like I’ll be busy volunteering next week I plan to have match day blogs during the tournament to update everyone on events in DCU.