High time to put the International Series to rest

November 5th, 2013
by Weeshie Fogarty

Colm Begley is a six foot four, fourteen stone Laois footballer from the Parnell's club. He was a member of the Irish International Rules team which hammered the indigenous Australian side in the two recent games played in Cavan and Croke Park. In an interview following this pointless series which Ireland won by record margin the Parnell's man suggested that the series might be a better spectacle if there was a bit more "clouting" involved.  This comment certainly brought a smile to many a face because following previous visits by the Aussies to this country and the return games down under we have been bombarded by reports of dirty play, dangerous tackles, and fisticuffs breaking out on a regular occasion.  So now it appears as the old woman once famously said, "hot nor cold won't please them".  And having seen numerous clashes between the countries over the years there is no doubt but the main attraction for spectators was the possibility of a few good punch-up's breaking out. Now no one wants to see any player injured due to dirty are dangerous play but what we witness during the recent games was in my view the dullest television sports event I have ever witnessed. And yes I might hear you say, "so why did you watch it". Well I did for about twenty minutes and then quickly switched channels to Homeland, Downton Abbey, Fair City or some other one of the programmes I enjoy.   
In my opinion it's high time to put this so called international series to rest and we even heard the farcical request from some of the Irish players complaining because their county boards would not facilitate them and rearrange county championship fixtures because of their involvement in the series.  Here we had  case of intercounty players putting their own ego before their club mates and the grass root dedicated club men once again being in danger of been relegated to second place. Thankfully the county boards did not accede to the requests.  Why is t that Croke Park appear to lean backwards to keep this pointless series alive. Well if the Australians saw fit this year to curtail their selection to players of aboriginal decent then maybe Ireland should send only fluent Irish speaking players to Australia next year strictly from the Gaeltaght areas. Now we would be really promoting Ireland and showcasing our beautiful native language and also let's play the Aussies with their own oval ball. Then we might see a better contest and not the 101 point winning margin we saw this year.  But better still scrap the event.

And as I write on this Australian topic it give me the perfect opportunity to pay a richly deserved tribute to a man who i believe was completely unknown to every Kerry follower but he was a person who played a huge part in one of The Kingdoms greatest ever overseas adventures. I speak about the late Michael Crow of Limerick who died last Monday week and his massive contribution in raising the funds which helped Kerry visit Australia following our All Ireland win in 1969. The squad had been promised a trip to Australia if we won the 1969 Sam Maguire. Just one small problem lay on the horizon – FINANCING! At one County Board meeting, the Treasurer called legendary Chairman, Dr. Jim Brosnan, aside and said "if we leave the subs at home, we will just about cover a weekend in Butlin's for the team.

Disaster lay ahead – Austerity 1970. Hearing of the situation, Mick Crow made immediate contact with Jim Brosnan and said "Give me the go-ahead and I will raise the funding to secure your Australian trip." Jim Brosnan immediately bought-in to Mick and gave him the green light to run a series of monster bingo competitions – no paperwork was required – the two Doctor's sealed the deal with a handshake and became friends for life when Mick delivered on his promise.

As a mark of their appreciation, the Kerry County Board invited the Limerick man to travel with them to Australia.  And so it was through Mick Crowe's initiative, we circumnavigated the globe on a world trip which took us to Amsterdam, Vienna, Bahrain, New Delhi, Bangkok, Singapore, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Auckland, Fiji, San Francisco, Chicago and New York before arriving back in Ireland on 30th March 1970. Did anybody mention Butlin's? The exemplary Dr. Jim Brosnan, he also began the county leagues here in Kerry, passed away in December 2011. However, one year previously i was privileged to be present when he was honored in Dingle with a lavish reception that highlighted his famous career. In advance of the event, he made a special request to the organizers: "Get Mick Crowe to attend." Mick duly did and both rejoiced in memories shared of a trip which had taken place 40 years previously.

Brilliantly successful at funding the 1970 Kerry Trip, Mick freely acknowledged afterwards that some of his business ventures were not as successful. But he had real entrepreneurial spirit. If things went wrong, he got up, dusted himself down and threw his hat into the ring in another venture. Quitting was not in his vocabulary. Mick Crow of Limerick the man who pioneered Kerry's trip around the world in 1969, and to his wife Lily, four sons, three daughters and extensive family we extend our deepest sympathy.

Fogra: And now in an earlier article last July in relation to this legendary Casey family i inadvertently stated that oarswomen Bernadette and Caroline Casey, granddaughters of Jack Casey and daughters of Noel had won the singles and pairs at Henley regatta and were also All Ireland champions. However while the brilliant careers of these two superb sportswomen are well documented they never competed at the Henley regatta or in any events in Ireland. It is I firmly believe very important that the careers of this great family are well and truly documented as accurate and correctly as possible and I was anxious to rectify this as outlined above.

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