Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday am early:
A number of people have forwarded the link below referring to the nexploits of our old pal Roch Hanmore in Aussie Rules football.
So if you want to see the original including an action pic. use the link below someway.

Make no mistake; Ireland’s here to win next month’s AFL International Cup. They’ve had an army of talented players learning the intricacies and skills of Australian football, too. Some, for more than two years.

The man who has been compared to “Matthew Scarlett but looks like Max Rooke”, Roch Hanmore, is one Irishman who has risen through the ranks of AFL Sydney in his second year at UTS Bats.

The 27-year-old has served a long apprenticeship in preparation for the Cup having played AFL intermittently in Australia since 2006. It’s been a long build up but the Irishman-turned-Aussie is confident his country will take out the coveted title for the second time.

Hanmore, along with seven UTS Bats teammates and a representative each from Sydney University and Manly will make up almost half of Ireland’s team for IC11. The remainder will fly in from Ireland or are already in Australia playing local football in Melbourne.

“I would hope the UTS players form the backbone of the squad and I think that’s an advantage that we’ve got - that core group that will push us through to the final stages,” Hanmore said.

“The Aussies will be surprised by how good the amateur players are. They’ll be surprised by the level of professionalism as well.”

Hanmore graduated from college in Ireland on a Friday in November 2006 and then “was on the plane [to Australia] on the Monday.”

A Gaelic football trip to Sydney two years later, while he was playing for Power House in Melbourne, resulted in not only victory for his team but an attraction to the harbour city. He was later sponsored by a Sydney-sider and it is here where he is now living with his Australian fiancée.

While UTS have become accustomed to Hanmore’s match rituals and quirky personality it will be something his new Irish teammates will need to get used to.

“After every game I sit on my own and I go silent for about half-an-hour - I call it Roch time. I reflect on the whole day and just sit on my own. Everyone latches on to it and just leaves me alone,” he said.

“I don’t do the jig but I do sing a couple of songs after the odd game.”

Eighteen countries, including five women’s teams, will compete in this year’s IC11 being held in Sydney from August 12 to 27.

To coincide with the event, the UTS Bats will be hosting the Irish team for a training, BBQ and meet and greet session.

UTS president John Colbert said it’s the least the club could do for the contribution Irish players have made over the years.

“One of the things that has become a huge part of our club over the last five years has been the Irish contingent. They’re a very special part of the Bats now,” Colbert said.

“This year, we’ve got at least 20 to 30 Irish players … they’ve given us so much.”
Exclusive to AFL BigPond Network

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