GAA Football

Rules plays second fiddle to Melbourne Cup mania but Test ticket sales should rise on the day

Jockey Corey Brown kisses the winning trophy in the mounting yard watched by trainer Joseph O'Brien after Rekindling wins the Melbourne Cup at Flemington racecourse in Melbourne, Australia. Picture by AP Photo/Andy Brownbill
Cahair O'Kane in Melbourne

IT was a good day for the Irish as Joseph O'Brien's Rekindling headed a 1-2-3 for the emerald isle at the nation-stopping Melbourne Cup.

A national holiday across the country took its effect as shops and restaurants in the outskirt suburb of St Kilda spent the morning on lockdown.

When they finished up a 75-minute session at Wesley College, the Irish players took in the race on big screens in Melbourne.

The country's obsession with the multi-million pound horse racing festival, which attracted 90,000 spectators yesterday, is not great for the International Rules though.

A quick leaf through The Australian newspaper revealed front-and-back page coverage of the big race, with more inside.

But the sporting briefs perhaps gave the game away.

Basketball and American football got an airing, but not a single mention for the International Rules.

On such a big week of racing, it's only to be expected in a way.

And that competition for spectators is part of the reason that the first test takes place in Adelaide for the first time since 2001.

But even there it is a battle, given that England's cricketers will be in town at the start of December to open the Ashes series.

That clashes with the AFL draft and so there'll be another major battle for column inches then.

The fact that Adelaide Crows lost the AFL Grand Final to Richmond Tigers at the end of September is perhaps a reason for drip-drab ticket sales on the first Test so far, but with great weather forecast, the walk-up crowd on the day could be enough to flesh out a fair degree of the 53,000-capacity Adelaide Oval.

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