Charity the name of the game as AFL seek Irish talent
It wasn’t without irony that GAA president Liam O’Neill found himself campaigning for one truly lasting amateur competition, while across town the Australian Football League were campaigning to entice some of the game’s finest young football talents into their professional game.
O’Neill’s task was made significantly easier by the fact that all proceeds from this year’s interprovincial football final at Croke Park on Sunday week will go to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.
The addition of the charity, O’Neill admitted, was a “not altogether altruistic” way of promoting the flagging competition, yet the intention was sincere.
At the same time, former Kerry and AFL star Tadhg Kennelly, now an international talent co-ordinator for the AFL, was helping stage a testing day which attracted 24 young players to DCU.
For Kennelly, the staging of an event that might lead to their recruitment to the AFL (“and we’re still only talking about one or two players, max”) led to questions about the report released by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) last week about the use of banned growth hormones in rugby league, Australian Rules football .
“I saw a report say it’s the darkest day in Australian sport and it certainly was,” said Kennelly. “It was a huge shock to myself when I heard it. I have been here 12 years and not once have I seen or heard anything to do with performance-enhancing drugs. I can only speak for my own experiences and players that have come in from other clubs or left for other clubs.”
Tickets for the interprovincial final on Sunday, February 24th, cost €10 for adults an €5 for juveniles. Tickets at gaa.ie/ticketsand usual outlets