International Rules is poised to return to two-test series from next year
THE success of one-off tests in 2014 and '15 have persuaded the GAA and AFL to return to a two-test format for the International Rules series from next year.
The return to a two-match series in 2017, to be played over the weekends of November 11 and 18 at venues still to be confirmed, comes on the back of successful one-off tests in Perth in 2014 and Dublin last year. Following last Saturday’s central council meeting, the GAA and the AFL have also agreed in principle to play a two-test series back in Ireland in 2019.
Former Armagh boss Joe Kernan will continue as Ireland manager, while the AFL has underlined its commitment to field a team comprised only of All-Australian players - the AFL equivalent of GAA All-Stars.
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail said: "We believe the two-game series is a logical development after the success of the last two single games series, given the distances involved and the potential to generate even more momentum around the games.
"We look forward to renewing rivalries with the best the AFL has to offer and we acknowledge the progress made in recent months with our AFL counterparts in helping to confirm the plans for 2017."
The AFL's general manager of football operations Mark Evans added: “The one-off test matches in Perth and Dublin over the last two years were two high-class encounters played in front of very strong crowds.
“Australian and Irish fans have shown they want to see a spectacular and competitive contest played between the most talented AFL players and Ireland’s best Gaelic footballers.
“Restricting selection to only a player who has earned All Australian selection through his AFL career has ensured the prestige of playing in the International Rules series and we look forward to hosting the Irish side again next year.”