Rattled by Irish chill

Fernvale AFL player Paul Macknamara visited Ireland in March for two test matches of Gaelic football. Pictures: PAUL MACKNMARA

Fernvale AFL player Paul Macknamara visited Ireland in March for the 2024 International Ireland Tour.

The Brisbane Valley Rattlers AFC player was selected to represent Australia in the Masters Mens 50s team in Gaelic Football for two test matches on 9 and 16 March.

Macknamara said the trip was cold, wet and windy.

“The first game, we had to get moved out of Galway because the weather conditions were so bad there,” he said.

“They moved us to a place called Mayo, and we ended up on a provincial-type ground and the very first test match we had 35km/h wind heading one direction down the ground.

“We kicked with the wind in the first quarter and didn’t score enough.

“It was close, it was very tight, there was only three points to one point.”

The Australians were beat 63 to 9 in the first match.

“They were too quick for us through the middle of the ground… we couldn’t slow them down in that match,” Macknamara said.

“During the next week the coaches worked out a few things we might be able to slow them down with and we put that into practice in the second test match.

“We only ended up 19 to 30 in the second match, but we were tied most of the game.”

Macknamara said the Irish team had better ball skills, but were also at an advantage with seven out of twenty of the Australians sick.

“I played with influenza in the second match and another six guys were very crook, so that knocked us around a bit as well,” he said.

“The top temperature we had playing was around five degrees, and the second match was wet and a little bit windy.

”We’ve come from 35 degrees training, going down to 5 degrees wasn’t much fun.”

Despite the trials of the Irish tour, Macknamara said the team enjoyed its time overseas.

“Ireland was sensational,” he said.

“Galway and the provinces were really nice, Galway was probably our favourite spot.

“We went to the Cliffs of Moher, sightseeing with the group.

“We made it a holiday as well, we tacked on Scotland after Ireland, so we did 12 nights in Scotland as well while we were over there.

“It was a good experience and a good group of guys we went away with, the comradery was really good.”

Macknamara said he would happily go back, but perhaps next time during the summer.