Aussie Rules touring side to play in Limerick

Jerome O’Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O’Connell

Monaleen's  Michael Sheahan
AUSSIE Rules comes to Limerick this week.

AUSSIE Rules comes to Limerick this week.

An underage Australian Rules side are touring Europe and will play a Monaleen GAA selection in two games in UL.

The games take place this Thursday and Friday evenings in the North Campus in UL.

The Wanderers AFL Boy teams will play the games against the Monaleen U-14 and U-15 selections.

“We played them four years ago when they were on their last international tour and it was a great success,” said Monaleen GAA’s Michael Sheahan, who is one of the local coordinators, along with Caroline O’Kane.

“They are bringing 33 teenagers with them and will have almost 20 travelling adults,” explained Sheahan.

“We will play them in games on both evenings - three quarters will be played with a Gaelic Football, while the last quarter will be with the oval Aussie Rules ball. The entire game will be under the compromise rules.”

On Thursday, the game starts at 7.00, while on Friday the throw-in is 8.00.

“On Friday night we will have a big social night in the clubhouse. Everyone is welcome to come to the matches for a look and are also invited to the clubhouse on Friday.

“So many of the adults on the tour are second and third generation Irish and love to come over here and trace their family roots.

Among the touring party will be Benjamin Blake of Victoria - the grandson of Pat Ahern, formerly of Rathbane.

“We will show them around Limerick on Friday morning and give them a tourist feel for the city. We will visit King Johns Castle, where they will meet the Mayor, then get tours of Thomond Park and the Gaelic Grounds. After that we will meet County Council chairman John Sheahan in County Hall, before giving them some time for shopping in the Crescent Shopping Centre,” outlined Michael Sheahan.

“We had a great time with them four years ago and in fairness to Limerick GAA secretary Mike O’Riordan, this would not have happened but for him accommodating them when the request came for the visit. I would also like to thank Mary Killeen Fitzgerald of Limerick County Council for assisting with some funding as part of sponsorship from The Gathering,” said Sheahan.

“It’s a unique visit and everyone is looking forward to them arriving on Thursday. All their players will stay with our host facilities for the two nights, while their adults will stay in the Kilmurry Lodge Hotel.”

The Australian visit to Limerick is part of their 18-day international tour with trips to France, England and Ireland.

Last weekend they attended the West Ham v Fulham Premier League soccer game in London.

While in Ireland, they will play other games against Dublin’s Lucan Sarsfields and Kerry’s Listowel Emmets .

The final leg of their tour brings them to France, where the Battlefields of the Somme is part of their itinerary.

“We home that they will get a great welcome to Limerick and that we can give them plenty memories to bring back to Australia,” said Monaleen’s Sheahan.

“It will also be a great experience for our young players to play against the Australians.”