INTERNATIONAL DUTY Danny O’Toole
THREE members of the Mayo masters Gaelic Football team have been selected to represent Ireland in two upcoming International Rules tests against their Australian counterpart.
Danny O’Toole, Seán McCaughey and Bryan Hennelly have all been included in the squad for the games, which will take place in Galway and Cavan next week.
The Aussies are due to fly into Knock next Sunday, October 16, and there’ll be a welcoming ceremony in the Westport Plaza Hotel that evening. The visitors are due to meet their Mayo counterparts the following day for a skills session, before the two tests.
The first takes place at Kilkerrin/Clonberne GAA Club in Co Galway at 7pm on Wednesday, October 19, with the other to follow in Cavan on Saturday, October 22.
The Irish squad includes a host of players with inter-county experience, including Sligo’s Eamonn O’Hara, Galway’s Declan Meehan and Offaly’s Roy Malone.
The management team, headed up by Cavan’s Jimmy Galligan, chose two Westport clubmen – O’Toole and McCaughey – as well as Castlebar Mitchels player Hennelly – after a series of trials. Referees Pat McEnaney and Joe McQuillan have been helping to take the players through the rule-book. O’Toole reckons his rugby background proved helpful in securing his selection, saying it was ‘music to my ears’ when McEnaney revealed that much of the International Rules game was more like rugby than Gaelic football.
“It’s hard to programme [taking] ten steps into the ethos of playing with an O’Neills, because you’re used to the four steps, and the solo and the hop,” the Mayo County Council employee told The Mayo News. “In this game, you can pick it off the ground and run ten steps. It’s not awfully dissimilar to rugby from my point of view. The tackling, I suppose, is the most thing that comes naturally to me, whereas it doesn’t come naturally to [most] Gaelic footballers.
“If you’re a player who likes to be in possession, forget about it in this game. ‘Give and go’ is the order of the day here … I can’t wait!”