Darragh Ó Sé defends International Rules in wake of brother’s criticism

Ireland selector Darragh Ó Sé has defended the International Rules in the wake of his younger brother Marc’s stinging criticism of the hybrid game at the weekend.

Ó Sé was only made aware of his sibling’s comments following Sunday’s first test in Adelaide.

Writing in his Irish Mail On Sunday column, Marc, who like Darragh and Tomás represented Ireland, blasted the concept as a “bastardised game”, claimed he never felt like an international player when he lined out in 2006 and called for the competition to be culled.

However, former Kerry midfielder Ó Sé said the 25,502 crowd in the Adelaide Oval, considering his contention that the game wasn’t promoted sufficiently by the AFL, was one of the reasons why there remains an appetite for the series.

“When you stand back from it and look at it, I think it was a good game of football. You’re touring with guys from other counties and provinces and lads you wouldn’t normally be in touch with it. They’re a great bunch of lads and this showcases their talents.

“Conor Sweeney kicked a great score and different lads shone through. There will be some lads who will feel they didn’t play as well as they normally can but that’s in the bag for them next week. Can they bring on their game to the level that’s required?

“All round it has been a huge success. There were 25,000 at the game and it was poorly advertised. It wasn’t a good sell and then you’ll have a full house in Perth. I know a couple of guys from back home who drove five hours from Melbourne to be at the first test. It’s huge for some people from Ireland and Australia to see it.

“We’re reasonably happy with the way the game went even though we’re 10 points down. It could have been better but we always knew a job would have to be done in Perth with there being two legs.

“We’re just glad to get on the horse and rectify the mistakes we made.”

Ó Sé expects debutants like his fellow Kerrymen Peter Crowley, Paul Geaney, and Paul Murphy will make of an impact next week now that they have a test under their belts.

“We had knocks (before the first test) and the stuff like that but I think the game (last weekend) and the week that we have now up to the Perth game will stand to us.

“The lads who haven’t played before will now be able to stand back and say: ‘Hang on a second, these Aussies are no world beaters’. I think we’re in a good place.”

After last week when several players were laid low by a virus, Ó Sé reckons they will benefit from a sickness-free build-up to Perth.

“Now is not the time to be making excuses but there were lads going down left, right, and centre. If you saw the doctor coming you thought you were in trouble yourself!” he chuckled.

“It was unusual. I was on tour before and we never got that kind of a beating sickness-wise or even weather-wise. It was a bit of a setback in terms of not having our full squad to pick from.

“Michael Murphy gave a fantastic performance. He wasn’t well at all before the game but he showed up as he always does.”

Along with coach John McCloskey, Ó Sé and Pádraic Joyce will assist manager Joe Kernan on Saturday.

The third selector, Dermot Earley, flies out of Perth to Boston today for the Super 11s in his brief as GPA chief executive.

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