No excuses for Boylan


Ireland coach Seán Boylan has played down the significance of taking on a professional Australian outfit ahead of tomorrow evening's first International Rules test in Perth. And the former Meath manager insisted their would be no excuses from his quarter if Ireland fail to match the hosts for a third series running.

Speaking at a joint press conference earlier today, Boylan agreed with opposite number Mick Malthouse's assertion that the distinction between his amateur side and the full-time Australian's would have little bearing on tomorrow's contest.

"If Ireland wins the series we are not going to go around tapping ourselves on the back saying 'we beat a professional outfit', it's not like that at all," Boylan said today.

"And likewise if they beat us we are not going to say 'well they are professional, we're not'. In other words there will be no excuses."

In a good natured exchange, Malthouse had earlier laughed off the suggestion that his side should dominate their opponents by virtue of their professional status.

"The word amateur is a throwaway line, because I don't see Seán (Cavanagh) any less professional on his assault to be the best player," Malthouse explained.

"If Seán stood up and ripped his top off he would be just as cut as the best of ours - and they have had four or five weekends together getting ready. That is professionalism.

"They brought their players together to be highly competitive and better prepared - and let's face it they have put more time in than us, through circumstances. It does not cut any ice with me. I go out tomorrow night knowing they are equally as prepared if not better than us."

On the preparation, Cavanagh agrees, pointing to the special attention being paid to the tackle in Irish training sessions leaving his side as the "best prepared" of any Irish squad.

"The work we've done back in Ireland, particularly with the tackling, has been massive and in previous years we have not known how to give or take a tackle, but we are a lot better prepared this time around," Cavanagh said today.

"No stone has been left uncovered in our preparation for this series and I'm confident in saying that we are the best prepared Irish team that I have been involved with."

The Australians have already revealed their selection, opting for Nathan Bock in the unfamiliar role of goalkeeper, while Boylan is not expected to reveal his hand until tomorrow.

The decision was an easy one for Malthouse after Bock showed all the attributes in training.

"We've hit him with everything," the coach told press today. "He's agile, knows the game, [is] willing, brave and no doubt they'll test him out.

"It's a strange position that's probably the only one on the ground that is totally different to anything we see in AFL."

Australian Team

N Bock (Adelaide)

Full backs
M Firrito (North Melbourne), B Sewell (Hawthorn), C Brown (Hawthorn)

Half backs
R Crowley (Fremantle), D Petrie (North Melbourne), A Selwood (West Coast)

B Harvey (North Melbourne), S Thompson (Adelaide)

Half forwards
S Pendlebury (Collingwood), D Motlop (Port Adelaide), D Rodan (Port Adelaide)

Full forwards
M Osborne (Hawthorn), S Burgoyne (Port Adelaide), M Campbell (North Melbourne)

M Boyd (Western Bulldogs), J Brennan (Brisbane Lions), R Hayden (Fremantle), L Montagna (St Kilda), M Murphy (Carlton), M Rooke (Geelong Cats), K Simpson (Carlton), D Thomas (Collingwood), D Wells (North Melbourne).