This autumn’s International Rules series looks set to take place in Ireland due to a lack of suitable venues in the US, with Páirc Uí Chaoimh fancied to stage the first of the two-test series.
As a means of marketing their own game, the AFL have been determined to organise one of the tests on the east coast of the US, before travelling to Ireland to conclude the series the following weekend.
Philadelphia’s Franklin Park had been earmarked as a potential venue but, as the Irish Examiner reported in January, the GAA had ruled it out. Former director general Páraic Duffy visited the 53,000-capacity stadium, home of the University of Philadelphia, before Christmas and he dismissed it due to the artificial surface.
Despite this, Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper reported last month that Franklin Park was still being touted as a possible venue for a test.
They also suggested New Jersey’s 25,000-capacity Red Bull Arena in Harrison, where Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls play their home games, was being looked at, even though its pitch dimensions are significantly smaller than the minimum size for an International Rules field — 120 yards x 75 yards compared to 142 x 87.5.
The GAA are known to be against the idea of reducing the number of players to compensate for the sake of a game being played in the US.
Late last year, Duffy said the GAA and the AFL hoped to have the details of this year’s series confirmed by February. Although the Australians have twice postponed the series, it is expected this year’s matches will go ahead as planned and Páirc Uí Chaoimh is being seriously considered to host a match.
GAA president John Horan will choose the next Ireland coach after Joe Kernan stepped down in Perth last November.
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