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Tuesday November 28th 2023
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Irish beat Sydney’s best in ‘Rules

Action from last weekend's International Rules clash between NSW GAA and AFL Sydney at Mahoney Oval, Sydney. (Photo by Mark McGuinness).


Could last weekend’s great win by Syndey’s GAA boys over a Sydney AFL All Star selection be a harbenger for more success later this evening Saturday, when Ireland take on Australia in the first International Rules test in Limerick…we’ll have to wait and see I guess!
However, certainty reigned last Saturday Oct 16, when a New South Wales (NSW) GAA selection won their very first Mick Raftery Cup at their third time of asking when toppling the best in the AFL Syndey by 25 points in this annual International Rules competition.
The Oval at Mahoney Park, Sydney was the venue for this novel event which pitted the very best Gaelic footballers from 5 senior football teams and four B teams against the cream of  Australian Rules players chosen from 10 premier league Ozzie Rules teams with a  further 11 teams to pick from in the 21 team AFL Sydney. 
Playing with a very strong wind in the first quarter, the Irish side got off to a great start when opening up a 24 point lead
with goals by Armagh man, Mickey Kennedy and former Longford county man and Michael Cusack’s Padraig Berry,  delighting the strong Irish contingent in the crowd.
AFL Sydney bounced back in the second quarter with three overs by Declan Donahue but poor use of the round football would ultimately prove costly as the Irish defence stayed firm to secure a 14-point lead at the main break.
In the third quarter, the GAA boys continued to apply the pressure when grabbing another six pointer, this time the goal coming from Roscommon native Roch Hanmore, who plays Australian Rules with the newly promoted Premier League side, UTS. 
The always strong finishing Australians were expected to put in a late push but any hopes of them retaining their crown was scuppered in the opening minute of the last quarter when the GAA’s, and UTS player, Alex Whooley goaled.
Final Score: NSW GAA 4.7.8 (53) AFL Sydney to 0.7.7 (28). 

After the match NSW GAA’s captain and Fermanagh native, Mark Murphy was presented with the Mick Raftery Cup, while NSW GAA’s Padraig Berry was presented with the Kerry Murphy medal for a ‘best on ground’ or man of the match performance. 

NSW GAA Scorers: 

Goals: Mickey Kennedy, Roch Hanmore, Padraig Berry, Alex Whooley
Overs: Padraig Berry 3, Mickey Kennedy 2, Fergal Purcell, Richie HoareBehinds: Fergal Purcell 2, Roch Hanmore, Cathal McKenna, Ciaran Brady, Padraig Berry, Alex Whooley, 1 rushed
Best: Philip Bredin, Mark Murphy, Cathal McKenna, Damien Flaherty, Padraig Berry, Fergal Purcell 

In the early game, NSW GAA ladies had an easy victory over SWAFL. (Photo by Mark McGuinness)


The Irish had started the day brightly as the NSW GAA ladies comprehensily beat the SWAFL
by 8.19.16 (119)  to 0.1.5 (8) in the first match of the afternoon. 

NSW GAA Scorers:
Goals: Fiona Cotter 3, Joann Roann, Sandra Ryan
Overs: Yvonne Connell 3, Michelle Bergin 2, Fiona Cotter 2, Laura McCann 2, Sandra Ryan, Eilish McCarron, Joann Ronan, Davina O’Hara
Behinds: Fiona Cotter 2, Pamela Fitzpatrick 2, Sandra Ryan 2,
Best: Suzanne Flaherty, Yvonne Connell, Carol Breen, Fiona Cotter, Keira Kinahan, Ciara McMenamin 

Best on Ground Medallist: Keira Kinahan (NSWGAA)

Afterwards NSW GAA Secretary, Mark McGuiness said that it was a great achievement for Gaelic football in the region and NSW GAA looks forward to more competition with AFL Syndey in the future.
“The NSW GAA is delighted that we have been able to claim the Mick Raftery Cup for the first time while our Ladies continue to hold the upper hand in their series. We look forward to continuing to work with the NSW AFL to develop and grow this annual fixture. NSW GAA would like to express its thanks to the Raftery family for its continued support of these fixtures and all those who have provided support for both our victorious teams, in particular Durty Nellys bar for their continued support of both teams.”