29. GAA Day Sport: International rules and the Gaelic – Australian connection

So, a bunch of Australians had arrived in Dublin to play the Irish at their national sport? They had never played it before, and the team they were going to play was none other than the national champions! Was this some kind of joke? 23,000 people went along to watch that day, and none of them really knew what to expect.

The emergence of the International Rules series between GAA and AFL footballers has helped popularise the theory that Australian football was originally based on the Irish game.

There is plenty of compelling evidence to support the idea, but it is still far easier
to disprove than prove. In fact, it may be more likely that it was the older Australian game than provided some of the inspiration for the newer Irish one.

This chapter looks in detail at both sides of a fascinating argument, and also follows the development of the composite game, as well as previous attempts at cross-code football that ended up being no more than historical anecdotes.

30. ESCAPE TO VICTORIA: Early football in and around Melbourne

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