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Rules looks back on track after Perth Test

following Saturday's successful International Rules Test between Australia and Ireland, which saw a near-capacity crowd and the AFL's top players lining out, next season's gap year is due to be scrapped.

Following discussions between the GAA and the AFL, it's now almost certain to go ahead at Croke Park in November.

"We didn't make any definitive decision but it's fair to say that we needed a good game and we got a good game. It has definitely put International Rules back on track," said GAA director-general Paraic Duffy following Ireland's defeat.

He will report back to Central Council and the AFL will also have discussions but there's agreement in principle that the series goes ahead next year, with either one or two games.

It was cut one Test this year as the AFL worked at reviving interest in Australia. Their efforts were rewarded as 38,262 saw a star-studded home team end a four-match losing sequence in Perth.

"The Australians want to come (to Ireland) next year. It could be one or two games but looking at the experience here, maybe if we had one game and threw everything at it in Croke Park, I think you could be back to the days of full houses," said Duffy.

The AFL has mooted the idea of an Ireland-Australia game in America, but it's most unlikely to take place next year. Duffy said that a really good game in Croke Park was the next priority, but he acknowledged that taking the series to the US at another time might have merit.

"Let's get a series next year - one or two games - and then look at the longer-term picture," he said.

Relationships between the GAA and AFL have improved since Gillon McLachlan took over the latter. He was very much the driving force behind ensuring that Australia fielded possibly their strongest team in the 30-year history of the series and is strongly committed to continuing the link-up with Ireland.

A dreadful first-half wrecked Ireland's chances of recording a record fifth successive win over Australia at Patersons Stadium.

Ireland trailed by 28 points at half-time. Tthey battled back bravely in the second half, they had left themselves with far too much to do. By the end, they had pared the margin to ten points, but just couldn't undo all of the damage.


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