Temporary floodlights plan for Rules at Croker?

FLOODLIT games at Croke Park in future International Rules Series may be a possibility if the games continue to attract big attendances in Ireland and Australia.

The GAA has no immediate plans to change to evening fixtures or, for that matter to install floodlighting in the stadium on a permanent basis. But, the AFL would be very interested in having the games played much later in the day to enable them be shown on television back home at a more suitable time.

The time difference between the two countries (ten hours in Melbourne up to the end of October) means that a game starting at 3 p.m. in Ireland would go out live in Melbourne at 1 a.m.

The AFL have made informal approaches about having the games in Ireland played much earlier, possibly at 1 o'clock, or even noon.

Questioned about the alternative of floodlit games, Director-General Liam Mulvihill revealed yesterday that it is not beyond the bounds of possibility. And, he pointed out that it would be relatively easy to install temporary lighting on the roof of the stand, as had been done for the Special Olympics.

Both associations are favourable towards the idea of awarding 'caps' to members of their squads to honour their international representation.

However, Irish team doctor Con Murphy has come out strongly against the idea of extending the tours to include a third test. He doesn't believe the GAA part-timers would be up to the physical challenge posed by such an arrangement.

"Two issues would bother me. A third match would be physically very draining on our players and I'm not sure that they could cope with it. Secondly, you are talking of adding an extra week to the tour and from a work perspective I wouldn't see it as practical," he commented.

With the exception of Declan Browne, the tour proved relatively straight-forward from an injuries point of view.

"It was cruel for Declan. He had a lot to offer the team and to be deprived of that opportunity was a shame," said Dr. Murphy. "He only lasted two minutes in the warm-up game. The injury he got was a bad one and he had no chance from there on. It was a shame because he's such a great player."

He added: "The tour was very enjoyable. The concept of the international rules is a very serious one and it's a great game. I think we could learn a lot from it at home. If you asked any of the players what they think of it, they would tell you that it was an outstanding experience for them.

"Physically, of course, it's very demanding on them. One of the biggest problems for us with the two matches is the four quarters of 20 minutes. It's longer than our own game and that ultimately was our undoing!

The Irish players are due back in Ireland tomorrow night.

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