International Rules Series
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2008 International Rules Series
International Rules Series, the Cormac McAnallen Cup.
SportInternational rules football
No. of teams2 (Finals)
Most recent
International Rules Football match at the Telstra Dome - Australia vs Ireland. Melbourne, Australia

The International Rules Series is a senior men's competition between an Irish representative team (selected by the Gaelic Athletic Association) and the Australian representative team (selected by the Australian Football League). The series is played each October after the completion of the Australian Football League Grand Final and All-Ireland Football Final which are both played on the last weekend of September. The matches are played using a set of compromise rules decided upon by both governing bodies known formally as International rules football. While the International Rules Series matches use some rules from Australian rules football, the field, ball and uniforms of both teams are all from gaelic football.

The two teams contest a trophy which in 2004 was renamed the Cormac McAnallen Cup, after a Tyrone Gaelic footballer, Cormac McAnallen, who had represented Ireland at this level in 2002 before his death in 2004 from a heart condition.

The concept for the series originates from the the Australian Football World Tour, which took place in 1967. It evolved from a series of informal tests between 1984-1990 to became a regular, official series with an official rules from 1998.

The series alternates host countries each year between Ireland and Australia. Since the commencement of the senior international series in 1998, the average attendance up to the conclusion of the 2006 series was 48,199. Ireland had won seven matches, Australia has won five with a further two being drawn. The test has sold out once in Australia, in Perth in 2003, and the first series to sell out was in Ireland in 2006 when a record of 82,127 was set, making the test the largest crowd for an international sports fixture in Ireland.

The tests were indefinitely postponed by the GAA in 2007 following the 2006 International Rules Series, citing a series of violent onfield incidents. [1] However, the 2008 series was held in October 2008 in Australia, after the GAA and AFL reached agreement on revised rules.

All-time standings (1998-)

The Cormac McAnallen Cup presented to the International Rules Series winners
Country Series won Test matches won 1 Points scored
Republic of Ireland Ireland 5 10 1,086
Australia Australia 5 8 1,113

1 Two draws (second test 1999, second test 2002).


Test results

Ireland is the current holder of the Cormac McAnallen Cup, after winning the 2008 Series 2-0, with an aggregate lead of five points– The series took place in Australia, with tests played at Subiaco Oval in Perth (on October 24 2008) and the MCG in Melbourne (on October 31 2008)–

Results of International Rules Series since 1998

Year Host Country First Test Stadium/Location Crowd Second Test Stadium/Location Crowd Total Series Winner
2008 Australia Republic of Ireland Ireland 3–6–9 (45)
Australia Australia 0–12–8 (44)
Subiaco Oval, Perth 35,153 Republic of Ireland Ireland 4–8–9 (57)
Australia Australia 3–8–11 (53)
MCG, Melbourne 42,823 Republic of Ireland 102
Australia 97
2006 Ireland Republic of Ireland Ireland 1–12–6 (48)
Australia Australia 1–9–7 (40)
Pearse Stadium, Galway 35,000* Australia Australia 3–15–6 (69)
Republic of Ireland Ireland 0–7–10 (31)
Croke Park, Dublin 82,127* Australia 109
Republic of Ireland 79
2005 Australia Australia Australia 2–27–7 (100)
Republic of Ireland Ireland 3–11–13 (64)
Subiaco Oval, Perth 39,098 Australia Australia 0–18–9 (63)
Republic of Ireland Ireland 0–11–9 (42)
Telstra Dome, Melbourne 45,428 Australia 163
Republic of Ireland 106
2004 Ireland Republic of Ireland Ireland 3–17–8 (77)
Australia Australia 1–9–8 (41)
Croke Park, Dublin 46,370 Republic of Ireland Ireland 1–15–4 (55)
Australia Australia 0–12–5 (41)
Croke Park, Dublin 60,515 Republic of Ireland 132
Australia 82
2003 Australia Australia Australia 3–10–8 (56)
Republic of Ireland Ireland 1–10–10 (46)
Subiaco Oval, Perth 41,228* Republic of Ireland Ireland 2–9–9 (48)
Australia Australia 1–10–9 (45)
MCG, Melbourne 60,235 Australia 101
Republic of Ireland 94
2002 Ireland Australia Australia 2–13–8 (59)
Republic of Ireland Ireland 1–13–8 (53)
Croke Park, Dublin 44,421 Draw: Republic of Ireland Ireland 1–8–12 (42)
Australia Australia 1–11–3 (42)
Croke Park, Dublin 71,532 Australia 101
Republic of Ireland 95
2001 Australia Republic of Ireland Ireland 2–13–8 (59)
Australia Australia 1–13–8 (53)
MCG, Melbourne 48,121 Republic of Ireland Ireland 2–17–8 (71)
Australia Australia 1–13–7 (52)
Football Park, Adelaide 31,713 Republic of Ireland 130
Australia 105
2000 Ireland Australia Australia 0–14–13 (55)
Republic of Ireland Ireland 1–11–8 (47)
Croke Park, Dublin 38,000 Australia Australia 2–15–11 (68)
Republic of Ireland Ireland 1–12–9 (51)
Croke Park, Dublin 57,289 Australia 123
Republic of Ireland 98
1999 Australia Republic of Ireland Ireland 2–16–10 (70)
Australia Australia 0–15–17 (62)
MCG, Melbourne 64,326 Draw: Australia Australia 2–12–4 (52)
Republic of Ireland Ireland 1–11–13 (52)
Football Park, Adelaide 45,187 Republic of Ireland 122
Australia 114
1998 Ireland Australia Australia 2–12–14 (62)
Republic of Ireland Ireland 2–12–13 (61)
Croke Park, Dublin 22,000 Republic of Ireland Ireland 4–12–7 (67)
Australia Australia 2–10–14 (56)
Croke Park, Dublin 35,000 Republic of Ireland 128
Australia 118

*=Sold out / Maximum Capacity

Jim Stynes Medal

The Jim Stynes Medal is awarded to the best player of the Australian team for each series. It was first awarded in 1998 and named after Jim Stynes, the former Gaelic footballer who went on to win the Brownlow Medal, the highest award in Australian rules football.



Australian tests were sponsored by Foster's until the 2008 series which is sponsored by Toyota, while Irish tests are sponsored by Coca-Cola. The logos of the two brands are apparent on each team's uniform (Foster's for Australia and Coca-Cola for Ireland). The competition is run by the AFL and the GAA. In late January, the Irish team announced that their long-term sponsor, Coca-Cola had decided to stand down as Irish sponsor. The GAA expressed optimism that a sponsor would be found before the 2009 Series.



The International Rules Series has been broadcast on television in Australia and Ireland since the late 1990s. In 2006 it was broadcast by Network Ten (delayed) in Australia and RTÉ Two (live) in Ireland. In 2005 it was broadcast by the Nine Network. The 2008 Series was broadcast on The 7 Network in Australia and RTÉ Two in Ireland.

Apart from Australia and Ireland, the international focus of the series has seen a growing international audience. From 2005, broadcasting extended its reach to the United States via Setanta Sports North America and in Hong Kong via the Australia Network. The 2006 series was also broadcast to the United Kingdom on Setanta Sports 2.


The Series has a number of high-profile critics. Three-time All-Ireland winning Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has continuely called for a cesesion to the game. He said in 2008 the tours to Australia are in essence just a free holiday for the players involved.[2]

Others however, like Pete McGrath (former Ireland manager), would like to see the series retained. He says it is a great honour for Irish players to represent their country.[3]

Future of the series

The future of the series was brought into doubt through the on-field actions of Australian co-captain Chris Johnson, with high contact against at least three Irish players. Many Australians raised the argument that the actions of Johnson and other players, such as Trent Croad, was in response to low contact by the Irish players unaccustomed to tackling. As Johnson's penalties applied only to future international tests and not to AFL home and away matches, the AFL and GAA were forced to negotiate suitable penalties for similar future indiscretions. The harsh reaction of the Irish media and calls amongst various officials threatened to cancel the series and labelled the Australian side a bunch of thugs.[citation needed]

Brendan Fevola's assault of an Irish barman, which resulted in his being sent home from the Australian tour in the 2006 International Rules Series, brought the series into question due to the behaviour of the Australian players.

Also in 2006, the AFL's international development department, with interests in the development of South African talent, announced its intentions to include South Africa as part of an international tri-series in 2010.

Following controversies in the 2006 series, the Irish team coach and GAA president again cast doubts on the future of the series. The AFL's chief, however, expressed optimism. The GAA stated that it intended to scrap the 2007 series altogether if the AFL did not abide by a set of laws that they intended to set out. Under the new rules, tackling limitations could be imposed by the GAA to minimise incidents such as the tackle laid by Australia's Danyle Pearce that knocked out Irish player Graham Geraghty in the 2006 series.[4]

In December 2006, the GAA decided to abandon the 2007 series.

"On the recommendation of the Management Committee, it was agreed that there would be no Junior or Senior Series of games in 2007. It was agreed that a document would be prepared by the Gaelic Athletic Association, which would put on record the basis of structure, rules, their implementation and penalties on which the future of any Series must be considered. This document will be brought back to Central Council for decision after which it will be forwarded to the AFL for their consideration. If the Gaelic Athletic Association’s terms, as outlined in this document, are acceptable to the AFL, then discussions on the future of the Series could take place. Dessie Farrell, the player’s representative stated that while there would be some disappointment amongst players that the 2007 Series will not take place, the decision was, in his view, probably a wise one."[5]

Despite this, there is a 2008 and 2009 series scheduled, to take place in Australia (2008) and Ireland (2009). There will be no underage series though.

In between the two 2008 tests, the GAA and AFL announced plans to introduce a triennial 'gap year' to the Series, whereby there will be no series in 2010, before resuming in 2011 and 2012, with another break in 2013 and so on.[6] The plan met with opposition from both 2008 Series managers (Seán Boylan and Mick Malthouse) and both 2008 Series captains (Sean Cavanagh and Brent Harvey).[6]



  1. ^ Lawlor, Damian (10 December 2006). "". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-11-17. ((cite news)): External link in |title= (help)
  2. ^ Broly, Joe (24 October 2008). "Let's stand up for ourselves". Gaelic Life. p. 48. Retrieved 14 November 2008. ((cite news)): Unknown parameter |curly= ignored (help)
  3. ^ McGrath, Pete (24 October 2008). "Play by the rules". Gaelic Life. p. 26. ((cite news)): Unknown parameter |curly= ignored (help)
  4. ^ Irish scrap next year's International Rules article from The Age
  5. ^ International Rules suspended for 2007 from
  6. ^ a b Heaney, Paddy (31 October 2008). "Cavanagh opposed to 'gap year' plans". The Irish News. Retrieved 11 November 2008. ((cite news)): Unknown parameter |curly= ignored (help)

See also