The International Rules Series is a senior men's competition in International rules football played each October, after the completion of the Australian Football League Grand Final and All-Ireland Football Final which are both played on the last weekend of September.
The series alternates host countries each year between Ireland and Australia. Since the resumption of the senior international series in 1998, the average attendance up to the conclusion of the 2006 series has been 48,199. Ireland has won seven matches, Australia has won five with a further two being drawn.
In 2004, the Series trophy was renamed the Cormac McAnallen Cup, after a Tyrone Gaelic Footballer Cormac McAnallen who died in 2004 from a heart condition. He also represented Ireland at this level in 2002.
Australian tests are sponsored by Foster's, while Irish tests are sponsored by Coca-Cola. The logos of the two brands are apparent on each team's uniform (Foster's for Australia and Coca-Cola for Ireland). The competition is run by the AFL and the GAA.
The best player in the Australian side each year is awarded the Jim Stynes Medal.
The test has sold out once in Australia in Perth in 2003, and the first series to sell out was in Ireland in 2006 when a record of 82,127 was set, making the test the largest crowd for an International sports fixture in Ireland.
The tests were indefinitely postponed by the GAA in 2007 following the 2006 International Rules Series, citing a series of violent on-field incidents. However, the games are resuming in October 2008, after discussions between the GAA and AFL. They will be held in Australia.
|Country||Series won||Test matches won 1|
1 Two draws (second test 1999, second test 2002).
|Year||Host Country||First Test||Stadium/Location||Crowd||Second Test||Stadium/Location||Crowd||Aggregate Margin||Series Winner|
|2008||Australia||Subiaco Oval, Perth||MCG, Melbourne|
|2006||Ireland||IE 1.12.6 (48) def. AU 1.9.7 (40)||Pearse Stadium, Galway||35,000*||AU 3.15.6 (69) def. IE 0.7.10 (31)||Croke Park, Dublin||82,127*||AU 109 def. IE 79 (30)||Australia|
|2005||Australia||AU 2.27.7 (100) def. IE 3.11.13 (64)||Subiaco Oval, Perth||39,098||AU 0.18.9 (63) def. IE 0.11.9 (42)||Telstra Dome, Melbourne||45,428||AU:163; IE:106 (57)||Australia|
|2004||Ireland||IE 3.17.8 (77) def. AU 1.9.8 (41)||Croke Park, Dublin||46,370||IE 1.15.4 (55) def. AU 0.12.5 (41)||Croke Park, Dublin||60,515||IE:132; AU:82 (50)||Ireland|
|2003||Australia||AU 3.10.8 (56) def. IE 1.10.10 (46)||Subiaco Oval, Perth||41,228*||IE 2.9.9 (48) def. AU 1.10.9 (45)||MCG, Melbourne||60,235||AU:101; IE:94 (7)||Australia|
|2002||Ireland||AU 2.13.8 (59) def. IE 1.13.8 (53)||Croke Park, Dublin||44,421||Draw: IE 1.8.12 (42) AU 1.11.3 (42)||Croke Park, Dublin||71,532||AU:101; IE:95 (6)||Australia|
|2001||Australia||IE 2.13.8 (59) def. AU 1.13.8 (53)||MCG, Melbourne||48,121||IE 2.17.8 (71) def. AU 1.13.7 (52)||Football Park, Adelaide||31,713||IE:130; AU:105 (25)||Ireland|
|2000||Ireland||AU 0.14.13 (55) def. IE 1.11.8 (47)||Croke Park, Dublin||38,000||AU 2.15.11 (68) def. IE 1.12.9 (51)||Croke Park, Dublin||57,289||AU:123; IE:98 (25)||Australia|
|1999||Australia||IE 2.16.10 (70) def. AU 0.15.17 (62)||MCG, Melbourne||64,326||Draw: AU 2.12.4 (52) IE 1.11.13 (52)||Football Park, Adelaide||45,187||IE:122; AU:114 (8)||Ireland|
|1998||Ireland||AU 2.12.14 (62) def. IE 2.12.13 (61)||Croke Park, Dublin||22,000||IE 4.12.7 (67) def. AU 2.10.14 (56)||Croke Park, Dublin||35,000||IE:128; AU:118 (10)||Ireland|
|Nov. 17 1990||Australia||Australia 50 d. Ireland 44||WACA||Perth||7,700|
|Nov. 10 1990||Australia||Ireland 52 d. Australia 31||Bruce Stadium||Canberra||7,000|
|Nov. 2 1990||Australia||Ireland 47 d. Australia 38||Waverley Park||Melbourne||18,332|
|Nov. 1 1987||Ireland||Australia 59 d. Ireland 55||Croke Park||Dublin||27,023|
|Oct. 25 1987||Ireland||Australia 72 d. Ireland 47||Croke Park||Dublin||15,485|
|Oct. 18 1987||Ireland||Ireland 53 d. Australia 51||Croke Park||Dublin||15,532|
|Oct. 24 1986||Australia||Ireland 55 d. Australia 32||Football Park||Adelaide||10,000|
|Oct. 19 1986||Australia||Ireland 62 d. Australia 46||Waverley Park||Melbourne||10,883|
|Oct. 10 1986||Australia||Australia 64 d. Ireland 57||WACA||Perth||24,000|
|Oct. 28 1984||Ireland||Australia 76 d. Ireland 71||Croke Park||Dublin||32,318|
|Oct. 28 1984||Ireland||Ireland 80 d. Australia 76||Croke Park||Dublin||12,500|
|Oct. 21 1984||Ireland||Australia 70 d. Ireland 57||Páirc Uí Chaoimh||Cork||8,000|
Apart from Australia and Ireland, the international focus of the series has seen a growing international audience. From 2005, broadcasting extended its reach to the United States via Setanta Sports North America and in Hong Kong via the Australia Network. The 2006 series was also broadcast to the United Kingdom on Setanta Sports 2.
Brendan Fevola's assault of an Irish barman which resulted in his being sent home from the Australian tour in the 2006 International Rules Series brought the series into question for the behaviour and laid-back attitude which the professional Australian players have towards the series.
In 2006, following the Under 19 series, the GAA raised the possibility of making it a biennial event to reduce cost of travel.
Also in 2006, the AFL's international development department, with interests in the development of South African talent, announced its intentions to include South Africa as part of an international tri-series in 2010.
Following controversies in the 2006 series, the Irish team coach and GAA president again cast doubts on the future of the series. The AFL's chief, however expressed optimism. The GAA stated that it intended to scrap the 2007 series altogether if the AFL did not abide by a set of laws that they intended to set out. Under the new rules, tackling limitations could be imposed by the GAA to minimise incidents such as the tackle laid by Australia's Danyle Pearce that knocked out Irish player Graham Geraghty in the 2006 series.
In December 2006, the GAA decided to abandon the 2007 series.
"On the recommendation of the Management Committee, it was agreed that there would be no Junior or Senior Series of games in 2007. It was agreed that a document would be prepared by the Gaelic Athletic Association, which would put on record the basis of structure, rules, their implementation and penalties on which the future of any Series must be considered. This document will be brought back to Central Council for decision after which it will be forwarded to the AFL for their consideration. If the Gaelic Athletic Association’s terms, as outlined in this document, are acceptable to the AFL, then discussions on the future of the Series could take place. Dessie Farrell, the player’s representative stated that while there would be some disappointment amongst players that the 2007 Series will not take place, the decision was, in his view, probably a wise one.